Today’s episode is with Eliot Marshall, the author of The Gospel Of Fire. Eliot is a former professional MMA fighter, and he holds black belts in karate and Brazilian jiu jitsu. He even competed on Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter, which earned him a spot in the UFC.
But Eliot’s greatest opponent has actually been bouts of severe anxiety and depression, and that’s what this episode is about. In this episode, he shares his story of breaking down and learning to build himself back up.
If you’ve ever struggled with anxiety or depression, this is the episode for you. Just a quick note, there is some hard language in this episode, so if you’re listening around your kids or sensitive ears, I’d recommend throwing in your headphones or listening to this a little bit later.
Eliot Marshall: I’m retired from the UFC, so I achieved my goal of fighting in the UFC. No, I didn’t become the champion, but like literally the day after I retired, I was looking at the building to purchase for my Denver location. I had one move right to the next. For the next three or four years, it just went well. We opened two schools and they were my first two businesses and with my business partner.
Charlie Hoehn: You opened schools?
Eliot Marshall: Brazilian jiu jitsu and kick boxing…We opened these two 10,000 square foot facilities where we did a lot, and man, it went swimmingly. Life was good. I had two kids, I had a great wife, I had a great house, you know? I could do whatever I wanted. Not like private jet fucking money, not like that. But like what dinner do you want to have and whatever, it didn’t matter.
Then, I started getting this anxiety that I had previously in my life. I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. I was just waiting for everything to fall apart. My businesses or my wife or something, I don’t know. I didn’t know.
Then I fell apart waiting.
I had a massive, what I like to call, a mental breakdown that led to a spiritual awakening. What that mental breakdown consisted of was ratchet anxiety of just racked, no sleep for four days, maybe a couple of hours a night, but nothing where you can be like, “Yeah, I got some rest.”
When you’re tired, you just lose your mind. You think you’re losing your mind and then you’re tired, you’re having physical symptoms of losing your mind. It’s just this downward spiral. It’s awful.
I’m not very religious, I am spiritual. I believe that there’s something greater than me and then greater than all of us.
I don’t know that it cares about us or anything like that but I do think that hell comes for us. I don’t think it comes for us when we’re dead. I don’t know, I have no clue, you know? I like to say that hell comes for us when we’re alive. The devil comes to say hello. And the devil had me, the devil had his claws like his hooks in really deep in me, and he’s hard to get away from.
I was wretched, I was terrified.
My wife would make plans on Wednesday to do something on Friday or Saturday like normal adult people and I’d be like, “What the fuck are you doing babe?” I wouldn’t say this to her but I’d be like, “What are you doing?” I don’t know how I’m going to get to Saturday.
I wasn’t suicidal, I wasn’t going to kill myself.
Charlie Hoehn: You just wanted it to be over.
Eliot Marshall: No, I didn’t want it to be over. I didn’t know why I wasn’t going to get to Saturday but I had this impending feeling, I don’t know.
Life and Death
Charlie Hoehn: You weren’t going to survive.
Eliot Marshall: I wasn’t going to survive, don’t ask me why I wasn’t going to. I wasn’t going to get into an accident, like none of that kind of stuff is going to happen. I just wasn’t going to be here on Saturday. Don’t ask me why, you know? Yeah, it was awful, man.
I was on the phone, I had a group of friends, one of them was my doctor and he’s my friend too, he’s not just my doctor, we’ve met years ago.
I called him on a Friday night, on the beginning of the worst day. The climax, I would call it, the climax of before I did anything to get better.
“We took some steps that night.”
He got me to take some sleeping pills and some Xanax and he called in some long term anti-anxiety medication for me. I had a plan, and the plan worked that night. I went to sleep. I thought I was going to be better and I wasn’t, you know? I was like, I slept, that’s all I needed to do was sleep, but that didn’t get me out.
That didn’t get me out because two days later, I took the pills again and I just freaked, lost it. I’m like, “I’m not going to sleep” and I did exactly that, I didn’t sleep, on all of this. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken sleeping pills or have you ever taken sleeping pills, Charlie?
Charlie Hoehn: Yeah, I have.
Eliot Marshall: It put you out, right?
Charlie Hoehn: Yes.
Eliot Marshall: I took two and a whole milligram of Xanax and I stayed awake. It was rough.
I stayed on the phone for the next month, this is how it went, maybe more than that I would say. I stayed on the phone. I had three friends, Mike, Ian, and Will. I would call one of them each night when I was in the middle of losing my shit at 11:00 like 10 minutes after I took the sleeping pill and they would just talk to me.
Sometimes it would be all night that they stayed on the phone with me and sometimes I would fall out, you know? Just like them, their voice were like putting me out, I call it, they’d sing me a lullaby, you know?
I got some good friends, man. You know? That’s why the last chapter of my book is called Ride or Die. That’s just how it went and that’s how it went and it slowly got better, six months, a lot of work, a lot of dance with that motherfucking devil for a solid six to nine months. Every day.
Charlie Hoehn: I think there’s a little less stigma now but what surprising to me and maybe surprising to other people is, you are a professional athlete.
Eliot Marshall: I got in the cage, man. I got in the cage and fought another man, right? Why am I crying on the phone to my friends?
Charlie Hoehn: You were still struggling with this mental demon, right?
Eliot Marshall: Yeah. I struggled with this devil for a long time. It started for me when my Baba, that’s my grandmother in Yiddish on my mom’s side, when she died, that was my first dance.
Charlie Hoehn: Was that the initial trauma that kind of started things off?
Eliot Marshall: Well, my girlfriend broke up with me, this girl that I thought I was in love with, right? My first real girlfriend. I was a whole host of things probably. That and then my Baba died and then all this happened within three months. Then here I am, boom.
We knew it was anxiety. This was in 2000. Whatever, it passed, as it always will, it always passes, your brain gets tired of it. But it came back a couple of times and what seemed to cure it though was fighting. I had something real. I had a real fucking reason now to be scared with fighting.
“In my opinion, that’s why I didn’t become a champion. I never dealt with my demon.”
I never dealt with this bastard over here.
It would hold me back. I always had fear, you know? What motivated me for fighting was fear. We know scientifically that fear is not the best way to be motivated or to motivate a person. The best way is with love and happiness. I was held back by this fear, but it also quieted the fear for a while—years.
Then, fighting ended. I had no outlet for this demon, I had no outlet for wanting to be tough and accepted and loved. I screamed about how tough I was in my life. It just wasn’t true, right? It wasn’t true.
I knew there was this thing, when you’re lying, you can only lie for so long before it crumbles.
I wasn’t lying like going on telling people lies, right? Who I was saying I was, was a lie.
Charlie Hoehn: Explain what you mean by that? Give me an example of a circumstance where you were as you were saying the thing, you felt it was a lie.
Eliot Marshall: I could fight, right? I was a good fighter and I would put this on. When somebody would be in a school and they would fuck up, they deserved a beating let’s say, right? They deserve to come in the school and they acted like an asshole or whatever it was, doesn’t happen very much. But every once in a while, it happens.
I led through intimidation and like I am the toughest guy in the room. I’m still very loud, I’m still like aggressive and that’s who I am naturally, but I try to mix that with this vulnerability now. Before, there was no vulnerability. There was just this hard exterior of I’m tough, I’m very tough, I’m the man.
I wouldn’t let people see that the inside, beyond the armor that I had on. Now I do.
I would say, that’s the difference. People know I’m tough, but if somebody comes in and things aren’t going well or an employee needs to be talked to, I tend to ask them, “Hey man, what’s going on?” Rather than be like, “Man, what the feck is wrong with you,” you know?
There’s something else going on. I used to have to be right all the time, and I don’t feel that way anymore, right? It’s very relative.
Finding a Softer Side
Charlie Hoehn: What was that transition like for you after a lifetime of being more abrasive and more kind of confrontational?
Eliot Marshall: I had to do it because I was broken, man. The first time I screamed to somebody other than my wife. I think I have the chapter story of when I screamed to my wife before my fight in there, you know? I was teaching a class, it was that weekend after the pills didn’t work, that very first Monday, the medicine didn’t work, was losing my shit that Monday.
I had ended up on my sister in law’s couch crying, and then I went to work. I’m crying in the office with Ian, and this was before I had even called him, you know? In the middle of the night. It was just awful. I was like, “I’m going home man, I can’t teach.” And I look outside and there’s all this traffic because it’s rush hour.
I’m like, “Fuck that, I don’t want to have a breakdown in the car. Whatever, I’m going to go teach,” you know? I go out there and I teach the class. Ian said, “nobody could tell,” I don’t know if he’s being nice to me or whatever.
“I was just trying to go through the motions.”
Then I don’t know what came over me. I was like, you know what? You can’t be a pussy, Eliot. you always talk about being vulnerable and telling people to do it, but you’ve never done it. Here’s the time.
The whole school, it was going on, probably 150 people in there, got up on the cage wall and I told everyone I was struggling. I told everyone, you know, I’ve talked about it before but here I am. I guess I’ll have to figure this out. I’m okay, I’m not suicidal, I’m not like – none of that stuff, I’m not depressed, you know? There’s a difference. They’re sisters, you know? Depression and anxiety, maybe they’re cousins, but they’re not the same. I think you have a touch of depression when you have anxiety and you have a touch of anxiety when you have depression, I think?
Charlie Hoehn: I’ve heard it defined as depression is worrying about the past and anxiety is worrying about the future.
Eliot Marshall: Yes, I’m the future for sure. That’s a very good way to put it. I was not like man, “I’m going to kill myself.” You know, I was never there. I just told everybody, it was real quiet, nobody did anything afterwards. Ssome people just came and put their hand on me when we were walking down the mat or whatever. Said thanks.
I was like, man, I think this might be the way to do it. I think this might be the way to really fucking help people. It just made me start thinking.
As I was going through this hell, it just made me started thinking about how to do life the best you can. What I came to was you have to have a reason that you‘re doing life. What is your why? Why are you here, why do you exist?
I got to that, I existed for my kids. I have two little boys, and we think a lot about boys and raising children. I needed to be the best dad that they could possibly have…I just try to get up and show my kids what it looks like to be the best adult possible.
A New Man
Charlie Hoehn: What does that look like now?
Eliot Marshall: That means, showing them love first of all, you have to show them love. That means showing my wife love and caring, you know? What does that look like? It looks like going to work because we have to work, you know? It looks like doing things together, it looks like teaching them that failure is good and amazing and hard but it’s what will make you great.
Giving them work, you know, giving them things to achieve and be bad at and then get good at. Simple things for kids, right? Let’s put the dishes away, guys, let’s take the trash out, these things used to be real hard for my kids, you know? Let’s cut the grass.
How much does it cost to pay someone to cut the grass—like 20 bucks, right? I mean, this is something I could easily afford and I used to. I decided that I’m not going to do it. I’m going to cut the grass until my kids can cut the grass and you know, because that’s what you do man, I saw my dad cutting grass and then you know, that’s a good experience for me, I wanted to cut grass because my dad cuts the grass.
“My dad works hard, so I’m going to work hard.”
Then my kid wanted to cut the grass, my oldest. He couldn’t. What kid can cut the grass the first, right? Can’t start the lawn mower, he’s all upset with himself, he can’t push the lawn mower straight.
You know what I said? “I understand man, I know you can’t cut the grass.” I didn’t lie to him. I didn’t lie to him and say he did a good job. I just told him, “No man, I know, it sucks, you can’t cut the grass right now, but we’ll get there.”
We just got to do it every day or every week. Now, he cuts other people’s grass, for two years now. He’s nine.
Charlie Hoehn: You’re being a dad, you’re showing them how to be men or grownups as well.
Eliot Marshall: Yeah, and be soft and love each other, I came up with six rules for me and my kids, not just my kids. Rule number one is you have to do jiu jitsu, and if you want I’ll explain them all. Number two is you have to swim. Rule number three is you have to look people in the eye, demand their respect and respect them back. Rule number four is if you’re scared then you have to do it. Rule number five is you make your money work for you, you don’t work for your money, and rule number six is we ride or die. If my brother goes down, then I’lI go down.
A Visible Change
Charlie Hoehn: Has your wife noticed this transition you’ve made?
Eliot Marshall: I would say so. We can discuss and argue better now, you know? I don’t scream and need to be right. We all have our flaws and our weaknesses. Yeah, we just work a little better together. We work a little better together, and one of the nicest things I think she’s ever said to me was I started competing again in jiu jitsu, and I’m older.
I know I’m not going to be a world champion. I’m 38 years old, and a couple of years ago, the fight company out here sponsors a bunch of jiu jitsu fighters and they want to put on a tournament. I’m the head coach of our fight team out here and they sponsor actually, the best jiu jitsu guy in the whole world currently, and they wanted to do a super fight with me and him. Man, let me tell you what I’m not doing. I don’t train like a 25 year old like him, you know, he’s my size, he’s better than me, I went out there and raised a bunch of money to do this and I got my ass kicked.
We invited the whole neighborhood to come watch, and you know, it was a good event—$70,000 was raised for the event. My wife was like, I think this is the most proud I’ve ever been of you. Because you didn’t have to do this, you know? You knew you’re probably going to lose, you invited everyone and the day before my kids got lice, you know?
“The night of the weigh-ins, my kids got lice.”
Have you ever had lice in your house? It’s fucking brutal, man. My kids and my wife all had lice from school. You have to wash everything. The whole fucking house. For like two days, the day of the event, everything, I’m just doing laundry and washing and combing their hair over and over. It is a pain in the ass, you know?
She was like man, you didn’t make like – you just went about like a normal day, it wasn’t like this huge event and you just went out there and you did your thing and it was really amazing. That was nice, that was probably one of the nicest things she’s ever said.
The Gift of Anxiety
Hoehn: Yeah, you know, as you were telling that story Elliot, it sort of dawned on me, one of the great gifts of going through anxiety and having this evolution of understanding, hey, I have to be vulnerable. I have to ask for help, I have to be softer. It’s the gift of anxiety. It allows you to have healthier relationships with other people.
Eliot Marshall: Yeah, you know, I am. I don’t know what it is. I am grateful every day for this demon. Every day I wake up and I say thank you. I talk to God, I call it. I meditate, and I’ll let you know, I don’t know what he or it is that I am thanking. I don’t really care and it doesn’t really matter to me, what I know is that I am thankful for everything that I have in my life. My kids, my wife, my problems, my students, everything because they make me better. They just 100% make me better. I am a better human being…And it’s a tough dance, right? It’s not an easy dance.
You can’t understand why this is happening. You can’t understand. It’s a feeling like no other, you know? You can’t understand why this is happening to you. You can’t see that it is going to go away. It’s impossible, and all you want is for it to go away and that one thing to go away, that’s the devil’s food, you know? That is what he eats on.
Yep, you’re in your mind all day, every day going, “Come on, go away from me. Go away from me, I need this to go” that’s his food and he just digs in deeper and deeper and deeper into your soul and then he does not leave you. He does not leave you when you are begging and when you are praying or whatever you pray to. When you are praying to that going, “Please man,” when it is your third night awake and you’re just like, “Please give me an hour, please God” whatever.
You know just let this pass for an hour, two hours, please—and then that’s his food, man. He is eating. He is eating good that night you know or whatever that is.
Charlie Hoehn: Yeah, there’s a great quote that, “That which you resist persists.”
Eliot Marshall: Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. You got to say hi to that devil and you got to say, “Not today motherfucker.” Today I’m going to do me. I am going to do Eliot to the best Eliot he can. Let’s go, let’s dance, how long do you want to stay? You think you’re going to get me? Not now, not today. You can stay here, we can do this together that’s cool. That’s cool, you can stay right on my shoulder, but today, I’m going to crush.
Lessons from Jiu Jitsu
Charlie Hoehn: There is a chapter called, “How jiu jitsu saved my life” and particularly, I’m most interested in this chapter because I’d imagine that you and I came about to the same conclusion or the same method for saving our own lives.
Eliot Marshall: Everyone is fighting something—everybody you know? Everyone that walks this earth is fighting something and jiu jitsu teaches us how to fight.
What jiu jitsu teaches you at first is how to stay on the bottom of a man or a woman on top of you trying to strangle you and take your soul. They are trying to kill you, and at first, you can’t win. You have no clue how to win. First you just have to survive. You have to stay there, their arm around your neck, and you’ve got to stay real calm.
You are mounted. You can’t think about how did you get mounted, you can’t think about after you’re going to get out of the mount. They are on top of you sitting on your chest with their arm on your neck, and you’re going to go to sleep if you don’t get out.
So first you just have to survive.
“You have to dance with the devil—he ain’t leaving.”
After you dance with the devil, after you survived a little bit, now you can think about getting out. Now you can think about getting back to a spot where you’re a little safer. Okay I am out. Now once I’m out, all right how do I stay out, what defenses do I have to have to make sure that I don’t get back there again?
Then you build up your defenses of the mount again. So that if you do get back there then what do you do? Okay, I’ll get out better this time because I know how to not let the hand get on my neck. I might get mounted, but I know not to get the hand get on my neck.
And then once you learn all of these skills in jiu jitsu, you learn how to go on the attack, and then once you learn how to go on the attack, you can kill. You can start go taking souls. We do that with another human in jiu jitsu, and the beauty about it is we have to do it over and over again.
“We get to die every day in jiu jitsu at first.”
We tap like you took my soul. And then after you tap, you go again and you go again and then all of a sudden, “Oh okay I didn’t tap that round, nobody got me. All right, fuck yeah that was good!”
And then, “Oh man, I got to the mount this time. I didn’t win, I didn’t choke anybody out or arm bar them but I got there, okay” and now, here it comes again. Now, “Oh man now I am winning. Yes! I am winning. Oh shit, here’s somebody better than me. They are kicking my ass again.”
I call them nail skills, but there’s a hammer and there’s a nail, so how are my nail skills? Did my nail skills got better? Can I survive the mount better? All right, yeah I did.
He beat me up but it’s okay, I am still here. I am still fighting, I am still fighting. I’m still chasing him. I’m still getting after it, all right.
And this dance just keeps going, it never ends with jiu jitsu. You never come back, and it’s one of those things where people like to rest on their laurels a lot like, “Oh okay, I did that so I know it.” Man, I did nothing. I have to go accomplish today. If you want to have good skills at fighting, you know what? You have to practice them.
You can’t stop for 10 years and then think you’re still a badass. You are not a badass anymore man. You were a badass—that means past impression, right? You are not a badass. You have to practice this every single day. I hope to never get into another fight in my life, an actual fight. It’s the last thing that I will ever do. You could walk up to my wife and call her a bitch—as long as you don’t touch her, as long as you are not physically attacking her we’ll be good.
We’ll work this out with our words or I will just walk away.
I don’t need people to know how tough I am. I mean obviously I know how to defend myself because I practice every day.
That is how jiu jitsu saved my life, man. It taught me how to get mounted and how to have the devil strangling me with both hands and not give in.
Parenting in the Present
Charlie Hoehn: Going back to the six rules that you have for your kids, I’d imagine that’s why that’s rule number one is that they have to learn that skill of fighting with the devil.
Eliot Marshall: Yeah, you are going to get beat up. There is nobody that comes into jiu jitsu on the first day and doesn’t get beat up. You can bring the biggest NFL, the strongest NFL player in and I have this little 18 year old, 19 year old Mexican kid that’s been training with me. If I tell him to die, he will fucking die. He fucking loves me, you know? We saved his life and he will beat the shit out of anybody that comes in off the street not knowing what they’re doing.
I don’t care how strong, how tough, because that’s just how it will go for them.
If you don’t know, it is like not knowing how to swim. I don’t care how athletic you are, if you can’t swim and I throw you in a pool, I don’t care how strong you are, you are drowning. That is what jiu jitsu is, so yeah, my kids have to know how to get beat up. I don’t want them to be successful at things right away.
“I want them to struggle a little bit—struggle in the right way.”
But don’t get me wrong, I am not like sadomasochistic with my kids. Have some fun but struggle, it is not easy. It is okay that it is not easy. I understand.
I have two kids, a nine year old and a five and a half year old. They are three and a half years apart and my five year old loves his brother like loves his brother. Whatever his brother is doing, he is doing. His brother, my nine year old Kannen and five year old Simon who loves sports and he’s a sweetheart of a kid, but he likes to compete.
Man, he’s got that competition thing like I have. I don’t know if Simon’s ever won anything because “Kannen, just let him catch the ball one time dude, please,” but now Simon can hang with Kannen.
Well Simon played his first organized game, he doesn’t ever win with Kannen but he played his first organized game, Saturday, a little five year old basketball game and look, most five year olds they can’t really run very well, right?
They for sure don’t dribble a basketball very well. Well Simon has been trying to keep up with Kannen his whole life and he can run and dribble at the same time because Kannen can. Kannen makes him play on a 10 foot net, which he can barely get the ball to. We have Kannen lower the basket, but this game was on six foot net. It is appropriate for five year olds, right? Simon crushed it. Simon absolutely crushed it and he was the man because of the struggle.
You could see it in his eyes, and the best part combines with my rule number six now is Kannen was standing there going, “Yes Simon! You’re the man Simon! You’re the man!” and Simon scored every point, you know? He’s like, “Who’s the man Simon? You’re the man!”
No matter how hard they are on each other, they understand that rule number six too. They have each other more than they have me and their mom.
They have each other.
It really touched my heart. I almost cried, you know? There were some other people there and they’re all like, “Damn, your kid’s really good!”
It wasn’t even that I was paying attention. I was happy that he was winning, because it was the first time that he got to do that really well. But the two of them together, the whole thing combined was really touching from my heart.
Charlie Hoehn: I don’t think there is a stronger testament to somebody’s journey than my kids are better off because of it.
Eliot Marshall: That is all that matters, and for me, look that’s what I got. I’m better because I wrote this book honestly. It made me go back through it.
Charlie Hoehn: What were you hoping would be the impact that this book has?
Eliot Marshall: I wanted one person to read my book and tell me that I helped them, because look, I don’t know if I am going to ruin this for you or if you are going to cut this out or you guys won’t like this, the book costs $25,000 or $30,000 whatever it is. I know I am not going to be a New York Times bestseller, right? But that nut is a hard nut to swallow. $30K for what? Like my ego, my what? What does that do? And even let’s say it brings out all these other opportunities, who knows?
You’ll never be able to really put an ROI on that number like a number to number, money to money. But if one person in their life would reach out to me even if it is on my death bed and say, “Hey man, I read your book and you changed my life” well, how much money would you give to make one person’s life better like that? That was in their dance with the devil and then somehow got out, you know? So if that happens once, one time, I’ll write 10 more books for that price.
Connect with Eliot Marshall
Charlie Hoehn: What is the best way for our listeners to connect with you and potentially follow you if you want them to?
Eliot Marshall: Yeah, so my name on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook is Fire Marshall 205, my nickname was Eliot “The Fire” Marshall when I was fighting. I used to fight at a 205 pound weight class—not anymore. Don’t make fun of me for being fat but I am not 205 pounds. That was a lot of work.
So yeah, I’m most active on Instagram. I just really love this new path that I am on with my life.
I have a podcast, it’s called The Gospel Of Fire, it is on iTunes and it is everywhere you listen to podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, all that stuff.
I just don’t like where we are in the world with a lot of things, you know? I think we need to be a little bit more together. We need to get back to the village a little bit. The people in your life are your life. That’s what you’ve got. You don’t have any money. You know this is just some greed upon currency thing. Man, fuck that noise.
You need to do what you love in your life, and when you do what you love in your life the money will come. But you better really love it. You can’t fake love it, you know? I hope that as people hear me speak, they know that I am not some self-help motherfucker that’s like, “Oh yeah, do this and you’ll be happy.” No man, you know you’ve got to struggle and you’ve got to find what you love and you’ve got to find the why, and that ain’t easy.
That’s work. That is real, hard work, and then you got to take that work. To be honest, I think we raise kids like shit you know? We raise them terribly. We protect them, we want them to not struggle, we want their lives to be better than our lives. I agree with that. I just don’t agree with the method that we do it. The way you do it is you give them some things to accomplish. Let them see a score board where it says 30-2 not in their favor, you know?
That is good for us. That is okay. We’ve gone away from this because we’re so afraid that we put our children’s failures that we take them in as our own because of our past bullshit that we haven’t dealt with. Go deal with your bullshit and let’s raise our kids together with your neighbor and your neighbor’s neighbor.
“Do it all as one.”
You don’t have to agree everything everyone says, you know? We’re in this place where it’s like, “Oh man this guy said this one bad thing so fuck him.” Yeah, you tell me one person…I don’t agree with everything I say, you know? I say some dumb shit sometimes. But we don’t have room for this in our life.
I say if somebody messes up with one thing that they say or do and we just vilify them because it is what sells. It is what we like to do. You want to know why we like it? It is because we feel like shit. We feel like shit and we don’t go deal with it.
I know we’re getting a little tougher here and I have been soft maybe before. It is this double edge sword that we need to have a little bit, you know? It is a coin. There are two sides of it. You have the devil on one side and you have the angel on the other and you need them both to be balancing each other out.
A Challenge for Listeners
Charlie Hoehn: What is the one thing that listeners can do from your book this week that will have a positive impact on their life?
Eliot Marshall: I have a chapter in my book that says, “All you have is now,” and that’s it. You don’t have anything else. I talk a little bit about religion and heaven and hell and stuff. No matter what you believe, none of us knows, you know? None of us knows what is coming for us when we die. It could be today, it could be tomorrow or it could be the next day. So we live our lives like we’re going to live forever—you are not. None of us are, and there’s no promise of anything afterwards.
“There is no promise of a single thing.”
So do this moment, this very, very moment the best you can and this takes practice. You have to practice, because you have to learn how to actually be in the moment. You have to learn what one moment looks like, and it’s hard. It’s hard work.
So let me tell you a little bit how to do it. Notice every time that your ass leaves a seat where you get off the ground or the chair. Not the second before or the second after and see how many you can get in one day.
See how many times you can notice the actual act of standing up. The reason why this is real hard is because we are always standing up for another reason. You are never standing up to stand up. You’re standing up to get a drink, to go to the bathroom, go to work, get in the car, clean up a mess, whatever it may be.
That’s the future, you know? You don’t have that right now. That’s the future—you are standing up for something in the future.
So our mind is always somewhere else. Try to be in the present. Try to notice literally the second you get up off the chair. That will put you in the present moment, it will teach you what one single moment looks like. Get up the best you can and then just take it from there. You’ll do every single moment the best you can, and when you fail, you’ll fail and you will understand that I am going to read a Teddy Roosevelt quote sitting in my office:
“It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or what the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and at worst, if he fails at least he fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Live your life like that. Live your life daring as greatly as you can for something very, very important to you. It doesn’t have to be important for anybody else. Get after it because you dare greatly, and live today.