Last year, I followed two people via social media as they undertook seemingly impossible feats of endurance. In both cases, they had invented their own torture. Both wanted to see where their limits were. Both of them failed in that regard. Which is to say, they completed their immense self-imposed odysseys.
James Lawrence completed 50 Ironman-distance triathlons in 50 different US states in 50 consecutive days. Every day, for 50 days, he swam 3.84km, cycled 180.25km and ran 42.2km. Maybe you know this, maybe you don’t: 42.2km is a marathon. A gargantuan undertaking.
Luke Tyburski set himself the goal of getting from Morocco to Monaco in 12 days. He planned to swim from Morocco to Spain, cycle through Spain to France and then run the south coast to Monaco. 2,000km, all told.
Both James and Luke went to the depths of their souls during their respective journeys. Unlike James, though, Luke didn’t cross his finish line in one piece. Where James got stronger as his challenge wore on, Luke suffered a series setbacks that almost snatched his dream from him. Most significantly, he tore a muscle in one of his legs. For most people, this would have ended their journey. It would have stopped them dead, making it impossible for them to move another inch. Luke proved relentless, though. He pushed on, even after the capabilities of his body had long been exhausted. He forced himself to endure the screaming pain in his leg for several days. He only allowed himself to stop when he was leaning up against a rock that marked the border between France and Monaco.
In the past month, Luke has released a documentary about his “Ultimate Triathlon”.
It’s a film about relentlessness.
Relentless love and support.
Relentless drive, until, finally, the challenge itself relents.
There are three lessons for creatives in the film (actually, probably many more, but these three are relevant to me at the moment, I suppose).
- There is no limit to what you can achieve.
- You will have to work relentlessly to get it.
- You will need the help of others.
We all want our work to be recognised. We all want a decent living from our creativity. Maybe some of us want more. Celebrity. Fortune. What those YouTubers have.
Whatever it is that you want from your creative work, you have to ask yourself, are you being relentless in pursuing it?
If you aren’t, chances are, it’s the wrong goal.
By the way, if you want to hear James Lawrence’s story (it’s a corker too), go here: The Iron Cowboy Did It! (Rich Roll podcast). And just to complete the picture, Rich Roll had a conversation with Luke too, which is how I first found out about the Ultimate Triathlon.)