It Ain’t the Six Minutes, It’s What Happens In that Six Minutes

One of my favorite movies of all-time is Vision Quest.  It’s a movie about a kid named Louden Swain who recently turns 18 and feels like he just hasn’t “done anything yet.”  But one thing he’s incredibly good at is wrestling.  However, to truly be the best he knows that he has to go down a couple of weight classes to go up against the best wrestler in the state, Shute.  Swain decides that this is the year he’s going to make his mark.  What follows from there is Louden’s “quest” to make the weight and square off against Shute.  If you haven’t seen the movie then I highly suggest that you do.  Obviously I don’t want to spoil it all for you but I did want to bring up one particular scene that literally gives me chills every single time that I see it.  Just before Swain is going to match up against Shute he pays a visit to his friend Elmo.  He finds out that Elmo is taking the night off to watch him wrestle Shute.  What follows is this dialogue:

Louden Swain : You never took a night off to see me wrestle before. They’ll dock you for that.
Elmo : Hey, kid – money ain’t everything.
Louden Swain : It’s not that big a deal, Elmo. I mean, it’s six lousy minutes on the mat, if that.
Elmo : You ever hear of Pele?
Louden Swain : Yeah, he’s a, a soccer player.
Elmo : A very famous soccer player.
Elmo : I was in the room here one day… watchin’ the Mexican channel on TV. I don’t know nothin’ about Pele. I’m watchin’ what this guy can do with a ball and his feet. Next thing I know, he jumps in the air and flips into a somersault and kicks the ball in – upside down and backwards… the goddamn goalie never knew what the f*** hit him. Pele gets excited and he rips off his jersey and starts running around the stadium waving it around his head. Everybody’s screaming in Spanish. I’m here, sitting alone in my room, and I start crying.
Elmo : That’s right, I start crying. Because another human being, a species that I happen to belong to, could kick a ball, and lift himself, and the rest of us sad-assed human beings, up to a better place to be, if only for a minute… let me tell ya, kid – it was pretty goddamned glorious. It ain’t the six minutes… it’s what happens in that six minutes.
Elmo: Anyway that’s why I’m getting dressed up and giving up a night’s pay for this function.

And just in case you want to see the actual scene from the movie?  Here it is:

Like I said, I literally get chills watching this scene.  If there’s one line that should sum up the reason you should “do things” in your life it’s “it ain’t the six minutes, it’s what happens in that six minutes.”  As it pertains to me?  I want to share my own perspective on this and how I’ve failed to live up to this incredible moniker.

My own failure to travel and experience life

When I first began working for myself I had visions of ample time, ample money, and the flexibility to pretty much do what I wanted when I wanted.  I mean of course I knew that when I had a family things would change.   But “living the dream” was always a dream of mine.   The thing is, within 3 years of working for myself I was making the kind of money I wanted to make and in retrospect I definitely could have traveled more and done more “things.”  But something happened to me which I believe happens to many of us.  Instead of doing the things you want, you begin to pile up excuses for not doing them.  Instead of traveling to another country I’d think to myself, “it’s a pain in the ass to go to the airport.”  So because of that stupid thought I’d not go on an entire trip that could have been amazing. And here I am, nearly 15 years later making the same dumb excuses. That example seems petty and annoying so here’s one that may hit home a bit more.

“I’ll do this when.”

How often do you find yourself saying that?  Once I hit a certain income threshold I’ll then go on that trip I always wanted to go on.  Or once you hit X milestone in your business then you’ll take a month off.  “Once I reach this point, then I’ll do this.”   You see, the reality is that even when I had little money or time, I still could have traveled.  I still could have experienced life more.  And now that I’m 42 years old, making more money than I ever have in my entire life, having more flexibility than I ever had in my entire life, the fact that I’m not pursuing these experiences is pathetic.  And guess what?  That’s all on me.  And for those of you in the same boat?  That’s on you as well.  It’s time to do away with, “I’ll do this as long as these conditions are met.”  Which takes me back to our original quote, “It ain’t the six minutes, it’s what happens in that six minutes.”

The next time you have doubts

You know how many amazing meals I missed because I didn’t feel like sitting in traffic just to get to the restaurant?  You know how many times I could have seem something miraculous that I didn’t see because I didn’t “feel like” going?  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be comfortable.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be in a familiar and safe place.  But there’s everything wrong with thinking that’s going to make you complete.  There’s everything wrong with thinking that that’s going to be “enough.”  Because it isn’t.  It just flat out isn’t.  And all the nice “things” in life can surround and distract you for years on end, but that thought of “I’m missing out” will always creep back up on you.  If you find yourself being too lazy, too comfortable, and don’t want to pursue those things you think at a deeper level, think to yourself, “it ain’t the six minutes, it’s what happens in that six minutes.”

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