Hitting Your Escape Velocity


Intelligent fanatics come from every walk of life. They aren’t just business people. They run charities. They are activists. They are public servants. They are artists. They are athletes. We can learn from all of them.

Takeo Spikes played 14 years in the NFL. He is one of only seven linebackers to achieve more than 200 career starts. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and played alongside many fantastic players.

Spikes recently wrote a book called, Behind the Mask, where he provides insightful depth and documentary into the lives of some of the greatest NFL linebackers of all time. It’s sort of a Intelligent Fanatics book of NFL Linebackers. I first heard about the book when I read an article written by Spikes in the Hemispheres Magazine (United Airlines Magazine).

Here is an excerpt:

“I’ve had so many people ask me along the way: How did you achieve so much? I was always infatuated with greatness. I think all great linebackers are. Everyone has defining moments, but a lot of people come to a fork in the road and see one side that’s maybe dressed up in overalls and looks like it’s hard work, so they want to go to the other side, which is easy. What a lot of the guys I interviewed for my book had in common is that they decided to take the tough road. They put the blinders on and made a commitment to something that was greater than them. They didn’t succumb to the peer pressure of people around them saying. “Hey, accept it,” or “It is what it is.” All of these individuals just stepped out on faith, and that was the start of them changing their circumstances.”

“…look at Mike Singletary. He didn’t play football until he was 12 or 13 years old. He wasn’t allowed to play because he grew up in a Pentecostal household. But two of his brothers accidentally died, and then his father abandoned the family. And so his mother looked at him, at the age of 12, and said, “Mike, I need you to be a man of the family.” He didn’t know what to do, so he went to his room and wrote down what ended up being his vision board. And he accomplished everything that he said he was going to do, including being a Super Bowl winner. The thing about Mike Singletary is his will. He wasn’t blessed with a lot of athletic ability, but he was blessed with desire. When you see his eyes, you see that story.”

“…Even if you don’t know the game of football, certain guys play at a certain level, a certain speed, to where you cannot help but notice them. Those are the guys that you really have to wonder and ask yourself, What’s behind their mask? What’s driving them?”

We research hundreds of intelligent fanatics. A common element is many were born into horrible circumstances. This should be very motivating to many of you that find yourself in a tough situation. When you grow up in a valley, everything looks like a mountain. You need to hit escape velocity. Escape velocity is achieved by compounding small daily decisions and getting rid of the people and bad habits that are holding you down.

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