They push you until they find the point which you break.
They can’t break me.
Says CIA operative Valerie Plame in the movie Fair Game.
Harder Than CIA
You may remember the story of Valerie Plame.
A covert CIA operative in some of the most dangerous theaters in the terrorist world.
When she and her husband got on the wrong side of politics, questioning the obviously questionable existence of Iraq’s WMDs…
Overnight, by our own government, her cover was blown.
Career ended. Friends shocked.
A life of secrets exposed, she and her husband didn’t back down.
They stood for what is right and pushed forward into their new life.
Now She’s Driving Backwards
Plame’s doing it again.
Driving backwards talking about some of the things that are moving backwards in our country she ends the video with a sweet maneuver swinging the front end of her Camaro around saying—
We need to turn our country around.
It’s a cool video and some strong messaging.
From the type of person we need more of taking a stand.
“Doesn’t Crack Under Pressure”
There’s an old watch campaign that touts that.
In the world of watches few can sustain a ton of pressure, and the same is true for us humans.
We like to talk about being anti-fragile but we live in an era where names are encouraged to hurt us.
In a world without safe spaces.
With constant pressure boiling from every side.
Fortunately the greater problem in our society isn’t that we’re constantly breaking down.
It’s that unable, or perhaps more accurately, unwilling, to sustain enormous amounts of pressure…
Too often we avoid doing things that would lead us to crack.
I’ve cracked more than eggs in a diner.
For years in driving hard goals on Wall Street I never came close to cracking.
That wasn’t because I was crack-proof, but because long hours and stress was never crack-inducing to me.
But just beginning this work cracked my weak mind.
Humpty Dumpty’d, it pushed on so many of my fragilities that for a while there I thought I’d not only cracked, but broken my head.
First learning where I cracked was the hardest time in my life.
But it also gave me a greater gift.
To discover what it’s like to crack and grow, crack and grow, crack and grow…
Over and over again to the point where you can sustain enormous pressure and only keep growing.
Tiny fractures in a bone force it to knit stronger.
Whether or not the bone ultimately heals stronger I can’t figure from Google…
But I do know the mind only gets stronger this way.
Every time you push yourself outside of your comfort zone you expand your comfort.
When you do things that would have stalled you in the past, you’ve gotten more capable.
And when you challenge yourself to a new level and crack…
So long as you keep going, you only grow stronger.
It’s not to say that growing, evolving, is the purpose of life, which we’re all in the dark about…
But just like a video game, it is how you keep leveling up.
Make Your Stand
I recently surprised a podcast host when I told him—
“I’m not into personal development.”
“What are you talking about,” he said, “All you do is personal development.”
“It’s merely a vehicle to keep living your most amazing life,” I said.
Like a pro athlete, it’s what you need to reach the next level.
And most certainly, if you’re like Valerie Plame…
Constantly doing hard things, taking a stand.
It’s what you use to build yourself into the person who can do it.
Here again is track 1 of the Masterclass for Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: