I Am Ego, Hear Me Roar

Is there something in my hair?

A beautiful blonde woman stood like a statue that had been carved from the finest marble under the careful but masterful hands of a passionate sculptor who pined for a lost love long gone. Surrounding her was a group of stupids who were trying to assert their alpha male machoness like a pack of drooling wolves. Two wolves snarled. One flexed his bicep, which surprised me because I didn't think men did that anymore to impress women. This is two-thousand freakin' fifteen.

I was not part of the pack. I tend to hunt alone. OK. That sounds weird.

Anyway, the other wolf barked, "I know you can't do more push-ups than him." He pointed at me. "I can definitely do more push-ups than him, and I can out run the both of you. So I am the best."

He runs marathons as a hobby. Full marathons.

At a prior party, the host had asked a few of us to compete in a push-up competition. Two men were up to it. I sat silently, trying to blend my yellah self to the textured white walls of the living room. That did not work, even after I said no.

I was volunteered to be the third man of the push-up competition. I didn't know how many I could do, but I was not looking forward to finding out after eating and drinking the whole night. And despite one of the men being fifteen years younger than me, and pretty fit himself, I won. So that was how that wolf, who barked, knew I could do a lot of push-ups.

Then he said he could do more push-ups than me. I didn't rebut nor even challenge him because, again, I was at a party, and having a stomach full of junk food hadn't enticed me to test my physical limits.

Bruce Lee Two-Finger Push-up

The thing about ego is that we either feel superior or inferior when we do the stupid and compare ourselves to others. There will always be someone better at something or worse at something than us. And the purpose of growing as a person is to be better than who we were. That was why I hadn't wanted to be part of that push-up competition. It was meaningless to me.

And as a writer, I'm not ashamed to tell people that I've yet to be published, despite working on this novel for five years. I don't go into explanations why. I don't give myself excuses to share with others. I've yet to be published simply because I'm currently working on shoring up my novel. People may judge me, stating I've worked too long for no results. And that's fine. I have no control over what they think. I will continue to toil away inside cafés, pouring over my writing coach's notes, crying at the devastation she's left behind, and doing my best to write the best book.

It's not like I'm curing cancer and people are on the verge of dying without my help. I'm just a writer with something to say.

How Much Risk Should People Take?

Do you take risks?

I’m a huge fan of the UFC.  If you don’t know what it is, look it up.  It’s as close to a real fight as you can get legally.  Right now their greatest and most revered champion, Anderson Silva, is getting a lot of crap from UFC fans.

There are two basic fighters that step into the cage, an eight-sided fenced in platform where the fights are held.  One type of fighter comes in to win.  Another type comes in not to lose.

Silva was on a huge winning streak, winning eight straight fights.  Less than a handful of people have ever accomplished that in the UFC.  His last fight that was held a couple of weeks ago would have marked his ninth, breaking the record.

He stepped into the cage to defend his title.  Without going into details, both he and the challenger fought not to lose, which made for a boring fight.  The president of the UFC even apologized.

When going for your dreams, taking risks is necessary.  That’s the hard part.

I spent more than three years writing my book.  I went in to win.  I didn’t think about winning when writing the book.  But my intention was to get published.

Is there a limit to the risk?

Justin Lin is known for directing movies such as THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT, ANNAPOLIS, and FAST AND FURIOUS to name a few.  I first knew of him when he directed BETTER LUCK TOMORROW.  He’d spent about $100,000 on the movie by maxing out eight to ten credit cards.

That's going in to win.

MTV ended up buying the movie, recouping Lin’s cost.  But the win came when we got to direct James Franco, Donnie Wahlberg, Jordana Brewster, Roger Foo and Tyrese Gibson in ANNAPOLIS.  His risk brought him his dream of filmmaking.

Is there a limit to risk?

I think the risk should be somewhat related to the goal.  If I’m writing my fantasy, risking my life shouldn’t be part of it.  What I'm risking is my ego, three years of my life and my dream.  The win in my mind is awesome.  If I’m a fighter, then my life is at risk.  The aims are different, which brings in different sets of risks.

Ultimately, the limits are personal.

I’ve been watching UFC since it first came out in the early 90’s.  And I was disappointed with Silva’s performance, even though he won.  He definitely came in to the fight not to lose.  And the fans are speaking out.