Allow me to open with a quote from George Carlin about our subject matter today: Joe Pesci.
Tis the season
“You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he's a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn't fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.”
And to reinforce this, and really drive home today’s point, reflect on this scene from one of the greatest movies of all time: Casino.
For those of you unable to watch the above, I have taken the time to transcribe the scene. In this scene, Joe Pesci’s character, Nicky Santoro, has cornered an investment banker who has been avoiding Nicky, due to the fact that the investments failed to pay off. Here is what was said.
Banker: “I explained to you there was a possibility that you might take some kind of loss”
Nicky: “Yeah…I think I want my money back”
Banker: *Chuckle* “What are you gonna do, strong-arm me?”
Nicky: “Ya know…I think you got the wrong impression about me. In all fairness, I should explain to you what exactly it is that I do. For instance, tomorrow morning I’ll get up nice and early, take a walk over to the bank, walk in and see ya, and, if you don’t have my money for me, I’ll crack your fucking head wide open in front of everybody at the bank. And just about the time I’m coming out of jail, hopefully, you’ll be coming out of your coma. And guess what? I’ll split your fucking head open again. ‘Cause I’m fucking stupid. I don’t give a fuck about jail. That’s my business. That’s what I do.”
I love that scene. I’ve watched it a hundred times and it still sends chills down my spine. THIS is the attitude you need to have with your training. THIS is the conversation I have with my body everytime it gets injured. THIS is the difference between champions and chumps.
Break down what’s happening in this dialogue so that you can understand how it applies universally. Joe’s character has learned how to transcend the limitations placed upon the rest of society by disregarding the consequences inherent of negative actions. We’ve discussed Hobbes’ social contract theory in the past, how the only way you keep order in society is by having consequences for actions negative to society. Here, however, Joe simply doesn’t care about it, and in choosing to do so, he creates an immense amount of freedom.
With some other benefits too I suppose
“I don’t give a fuck about going to jail. That’s my business. That’s what I do.” We say the same about getting injured, hurt, overtrained, immobile, and all the other curses every other non-successful trainee levies against the successful. We do what we do because it’s our business, and we don’t give a fuck about the consequences. Once you stop worrying about what COULD happen, you can focus on what you’re going to MAKE happen. When you refuse to let the fear of negative possibilities dictate your actions, YOU become in control, and it is up to everyone else to get out of your way.
Many of you may have gathered from my previous rants that I don’t consider my body to be “me”, but simply a tool that I control with my mind. In turn, I have literally sat down with myself and had this conversation with my body when I’ve become injured; that, tomorrow morning, I’m going to load up the bar in the rack, and if it’s not ready to perform, I’ll snap my hamstring in half. It doesn’t matter how my body feels, we have a job to do, and we’re going to do it. I’m stupid. I don’t give a fuck about getting injured. That’s my business. That’s what I do.
It’s the same thing once the injuries become too great and some time off is forced on us. We still train what we can as hard as we can, because that’s our business: it’s what we do. Those too concerned about the “what ifs” are those who never amount to anything. They let the laws dictate their actions, rather than seeing who has the brass to actually enforce these laws when faced with men with violent intent and a calloused disregard for personal welfare.
Am I making a villain a hero? Yes. When it comes to becoming great, in many cases it requires a spirit that many would deem “evil”. Nietzsche has spoken on this phenomena in MANY works, regarding how much of morality is based around those actions that benefit society at the expense of the individual and, in contrast, those who act out as individuals striving to maximize their own potential are branded as “immoral” for their actions work against society. Playing by the rules keeps you average. Breaking the rules and daring anyone to try to stop you makes you greater.
Embrace your inner Pesci-ness. Go get your money back.
(Author’s note: I do not condone any actions taken outside of the law. Please do not become an actual criminal as a result of this blog post. Also, remember what happens to Joe Pesci’s character at the end of Casino.)