In May, my brother had to take me to the airport in order for me to get home to Rhode Island from Pennsylvania. It was a great hour and a half ride with my younger-but-not-so-little brother. We had a chance to catch up on each other’s lives and get into some of the nitty gritty of life-decision-making and goals.
While this was a time I treasured with him, he taught me something that I will never, ever, forget. Something that no book I’ve read could have taught me better or some speaker on a stage could have illustrated more eloquently. He taught me about how to win in life. Not just at an athletic event or some specific scenario, but my 17 year old brother taught me how to win at everything.
Driving to Baltimore for a cheap flight is one of life’s necessary evils when you live in southern Pennsylvania. On this route we must pass through a tunnel that is huge and takes you underwater in Maryland. As we entered this tunnel we joked about a few different things and I shared how I don’t mind driving through tunnels as long as the traffic continues to move. When traffic stops is when I’m convinced a tile is going to come loose in the side, water will pour in, and we will all drown. My brother thought about it and then said to me, “yeah, but I always win in those situations.” He continued to explain by giving examples of everybody’s daydream nightmares of bad guys and bad situations. You know, the scenario that runs through your mind of a robber in your home when you are there, a car wreck, a burning home…a flooded, underwater tunnel, etc… Or even the outrageous ones where a tiger attacks in your backyard, or a dragon kidnaps your girlfriend. We all have these crazy, often unwarranted, imaginary, situations that play through our minds. For some of us they are truly imaginary, very fictional and near impossible. For others, they’re very real to us and cause us to fear a great many things and to live very cautious and paranoid lives. For my brother, they cause him to become more confident in himself.
Sidenote: we have always called my dad Superman. I think he truly believes he is invincible. After being with him and his best friend since childhood recently, and hearing of what they did in the cornfields of Illinois, I am starting to think his confidence is justified. The man should be dead or greatly, permanently injured by some of the stunts he pulled as a kid. Maybe my brother inherited his winning/invincible mindset?
My brother explained, that since childhood, whenever those imaginary situations enter his mind and play-out, he always wins. If it’s a tiger attacking in the backyard, he tames it or wrestles it until it’s dead. If it’s a car wreck, he walks away with just a scratch. If it’s a burning building, he gets out safe and sound. If it’s a robber in the house, he takes him out. If it’s a bad guy in a street ally, he shows him who is boss. If it’s a flooding tunnel, he guns the gas pedal on the car, runs, or swims, whatever it takes to get out and he does. Let me note here that my brother, while very strong due to his wrestling training and passion for fitness and weightlifting, has never had any formal training in combat. He has never taken a kick-boxing class, done karate, tai-kwon-do, jiu-jitsu, anything. To my knowledge, he has never even hit anyone in a forceful or angry manner (joking is another matter…he IS a teenage boy). Therefore, his mindset of always winning every encounter with a “bad guy” or deathly situation has absolutely no logical grounding.
There is a portion of me that wishes to attribute this to all guys, thinking they are invincible and can take on anything, and that as girls, we fear more things because we tend to be more fragile and cautious. But that is not true either! I know a great many boys and men who fear things. And for logical reasons. They do not believe they are invincible and the world and culture actually applaud them for it. Because to the world, to our culture, it means that they are living in reality, that they aren’t being unrealistic or silly.
I applaud my brother.
He has a great many, very large, hopes and dreams for his future. He just graduated high school and he is about to embark on a journey to make all of these dreams come true, and I believe he will, 100%. Because he has the winning mindset. If he can swim, jump, climb, run to safety and win every battle that confronts him in his mind, then he will win anything he puts his mind to. Whether he puts his mind to becoming a firefighter or being wealthy enough to keep a limo and personal driver, he’ll do it.
So Caleb, get out there and win at life! I believe you will, you’ll do every bit of it. And what you taught me will stay with me forever. Even in the past couple of weeks I have already been consciously trying to implement it into my own thought life. I am jealous that you learned this so early on, but I am appreciative that you did and that you shared it with me.
Go win little brother!!