I hinted to big news earlier this week and I figure I’ve procrastinated about as long as I can on writing it.
Typically, I knock these things out with barely a strain, same as I’ve written literally thousands of news articles. (And those were on deadline, under intense pressure, with the possibility of being sued for millions if I misquoted someone or made a mistake.)
But this one is different because I’m talking about myself, and like most writers, I can diagnose the hell out of someone else, but ask me to talk about myself and I flee like a crawdad shooting back under a rock.
At any rate, I’ve dallied too long and seriously disappointed my journalism professor Dr. Paul Ashdown, by backing into this story as pathetically as a first-year journalism student. “Just put the news in the first graph. In a single sentence!” he’d roar. “People are too busy to read your story, which reads like crap anyway.”
Enough. The news is this: I am now a full-time author. (Fireworks explode, an audience leaps to its feet in applause, and ex’s who dumped me start pounding their heads against the table.)
Wait, none of that actually happened, did it? Well, of course it didn’t.
But while none of that happened, I assure you this is a big deal for me.
My earliest dream as a child was to be a writer, and while I strayed from that goal with my time in the Marines and in the newspaper business, I’ve never stopped writing fiction on the side. (And thankfully, the stories are a little better now than the Cowboys versus Indians novel I started when I was nine or ten.)
I’m very fortunate to be where I am. I know so many incredible writers who are striving to reach this point, and I hope I never take being a full-time author for granted.
I’d be lying if I said I never thought this was possible though. I’m a dreamer, and I constantly work on my mental beliefs, reading self-help books on a regular basis and imagining myself successful (even when I was massively in debt and without health insurance).
Now, I’m here, and truthfully, I thought it’d take longer. Maybe another three years or so, and probably four or five more books.
But thankfully, my books have caught fire and that timeline has advanced nicely.
I owe each and every one of you, and I always swore to myself that if I were lucky enough to “make it,” I’d help encourage as many others as possible to reach their dreams, as well. (That’s why I constantly post motivating videos and thoughts, which I know can grate on you when you’re not where you want to be in life and it feels like the entire world is plotting against you in the most one-sided, unfair fight in the world.)
But that’s where I was just a few years ago. Just ask my close friends or my many creditors to whom I owed more than $100,000 in business debt.
But I kept believing, I kept fighting, and I want you to do the same. So, instead of any more gushy thoughts about my feelings — of which there are many right now, I assure you — I want to use the remaining space to try to inspire and motivate you. (If it works at all, share parts of it with some friends or others you know are struggling.)
So, what thoughts of mine could possibly help you? I’ve been chewing on that a bit…
Statistically, I know how staggering the odds are against success for either you or me. But I have always tried to lean on my most spectacular attribute! Without question, I’m honestly a little dense and stubborn and stupid, and these traits have served me well, teaching me to never give up. To be a little hard of hearing when someone says “no” or “you can’t” or “that’s impossible.”
And I’d encourage you to do the same, including evaluating immediately if your friends and family are supportive, or are they instead negative cynics who keep dragging you back to the ugly present. (If the latter, start looking for supporters and people you can look up to. Immediately. This journey is hard enough without carrying a lot of dead weight.)
The other two things I have going for me is I’ve never had much money, and the Marine Corps helped inject into me a little bit of crazy belief.
The good news for you is you probably don’t have much money either, or you probably wouldn’t be reading this. The bright side to not having much money is it creates an amazing drive.
And you don’t have to go to boot camp to get what I got from the Corps. You, too, can get some of that crazy belief by reading dozens of amazing self-help books, same as I’ve done. (Here are two to start with: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline and Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny.)
Finally, I have mentioned before that I love to study Eastern Philosophy and martial arts. This heavy mental and physical training gives me loads of belief and energy.
And on that note, I want to quote just a few things from some of the Eastern Philosophy that I’ve studied (and that I love so much), in the hopes that it might help you. (The following quotes come from the once-secret book titled, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai, which was written back in the early 1700’s.)
And in that book, you’ll find the following passages:
- “Even if you begin without talent, you can become great if you imitate a good model and put forth enormous effort.”
- “Emulate the best behaviors of those around you.”
- “In military affairs, a man must always strive to outstrip others.” <— I’m applying this to fiction writing.
- “In the stories of the elder warriors, it is said that on the battlefield, if one wills himself to outstrip warriors of accomplishment, and day and night hopes to strike down a powerful enemy, he will grow indefatigable and fierce of heart and manifest courage. One should use this principle in everyday affairs, too.”
- “It is spiritless to think that you cannot attain what you have seen and heard others attain. The masters are men. You are also a man. If you think you will be inferior, then you are well on your way.”
And the following quotes are from The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. I highly recommend this book, as it’s without question the greatest book I’ve ever received (after the Bible, which you already know about).
- “Getting your body and mind right can affect your whole life.”
- “Think you are handsome and beautiful. If you have a negative outlook about yourself, you’ll definitely fail.”
- “The more chi you put into your life, the more you’ll get out of it.”
- “Nothing is difficult or easy in itself. We make it difficult or easy with our attitude. If you don’t want to do it, then nothing is easy.”
- “Strong body, strong mind. Weak body, weak mind.”
- “You create your own life. You make it heaven or hell. Destiny is not something that happens to you. You make your own destiny.”
- “A foolish person wishes for good things to happen to them, but fortune, success, and happiness rarely just fall in your lap. You must grasp your life and sharpen it.”
- “Confidence is the most important key to success in all areas of your life. Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. If you lack self-confidence, you can’t get the job done. You will find it difficult to succeed in any endeavor. Face your day today with the confidence that you can handle any task, solve any problem, overcome any obstacle!”
Inspired, I hope? Then read this: Find true happiness: announce your dreams to the world today, and get busy chasing your own dreams. And don’t forget to share this with that friend on their own journey. Or who wants to get moving on their own journey.
Keep the faith,
Stan R. Mitchell
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.