To Hell With What They Say

I’m a 270-pound, 59 year old, with two ankle fusions, who is in training to play one more game of rugby.  Often they ask, why subject yourself to the very thing that destroyed all the cartilage in your ankles?  istock_000003152335xsmall2

What they may never understand is that while playing rugby I feel most like myself.  Most of my deeply fulfilling flow experiences have come on the rugby pitch.

I wonder, what’s your one more rugby game?

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.
Howard Thurman

There is great value in doing something organic to who you are.  There is great honor in deciding – screw them.  Be.  Stand tall in your own skin.

A life of engaged authenticity carries great benefits and rewards.   Somehow this choice of authentic bliss extends to other areas of our lives.

The demonstration of unique self-honor creates an attractive self-confidence that cannot be created in less genuine ways.  It’s that bona fide self-confidence that makes us feel competent to life, as though we really fit the game of life.

Somewhere in your life right now is a dream, a passion, a quest or simply an enjoyable pastime that you may have set aside because “they” said that you should.  To hell with them!  Be your own bad ass self and dust off your true desires.

True callings need no further explanation.  They don’t need to make sense to anyone.

Can you imagine how beautifully different our world would be if everybody said? “To hell with them, I’m going for it! ”

I talked to a right livelihood client this morning that is terrified of discovering a vocation that would require further schooling.   In my post Screw Going Back to School I talked about this myth that someone else knows better than you do, what’s really good for you.

Ideal careers and businesses are more often created than found.  Creators don’t need further education because creators credential and qualify themselves.

Sure, really going for it is scary as hell but there is a version of you deep within who does not want to settle in any aspect of your life.  That bold being wants to experience all the necessary bumps, disappointments and scrapes on the way to really living.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming  ‘WOW-What a Ride!'”
Robert Wickman

There may be a time for caution but from what I’ve seen, caution is only a self-constructed cage that delays courage and holds back the real freedom of living.

What is your one more rugby game?  Will you commit to playing it?


  1. Brett Legree says:

    Frak ’em if they don’t like it, Tom. You can and will do it.

    I’m almost 40, weigh about 210, and can run about 10 km.


    People around here think I’m nuts – but I love it. The feeling is awesome.

    Go kick some ass.

    By the way, I’ve been faithfully reading your writing here even though I’ve not commented in a while. Your work here consistently motivates me to push forward.

    I’ve just been silent because work is imploding at an exponential rate (company is self-destructing) and I don’t plan to be around when it collapses completely… so I’m generally limiting myself to the odd tweet here or there.

    Hell, I haven’t even posted to my own blog for a few weeks.

    But I just had to leave a comment here – the opposing team had better be ready for you.
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..seemingly random thoughts on a rainy tuesday evening. =-.

  2. Hi Tom,

    I agree, we often need to say “to hell with what “they” say”.

    I’ve learned it’s often best not to share my plans with others as some have a way of trying to discourage me. When I truly believe in something, I forge ahead and give it my all. Even if it doesn’t produce the results I was looking for, the journey makes it worthwhile.

    I particularly like the part where you said, “Ideal careers and businesses are more often created than found.” Isn’t it amazing where someone’s passion can lead them?
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..How To Capitalize On Your Blog Statistics =-.

  3. You reminded me that some of my favorite scenes and stories are when people go on one more adventure or one more fight.

    I actually liked Rocky 6 way more than I expected because he gave his all, one last time.

    I try to balance things I do physically with things I do mentally so I have a sustainable path. I also like to keep some reference examples of people that pushed incredible limits, such as Jack LaLane.

    I also try to be good at finding new passions so rather than latch on to something I can let go, and I can give my all in something new. One of my mentors also gave me a metaphor for the progression of life … boy, warrior, king, and sage. I like it.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..If You Miss the Train, Catch the Next One =-.

  4. Tom I love the Robert Wickman quote. Yes sir, I want people to look down at my dead stiff worn out body and notice the mischievous grin on my dead face!

    I went water skiing last week, something I hadn’t done in 25 years. As soon as my pulled hamstring heals, I’m going again. LOL! It was a blast though. It was just the falling that was problematic. Maybe next time I won’t fall!

    The biggest step forward for me was realizing that my dreams could actually be more than dreams. I CAN make them come true and I am working on doing just that. Whether it is growing my business, improving my relationship with the hub, or doing all those things that I always though were only for “other” people, I finally got it that “Hey, those things are for me too, if I go for it!” So I am going for it. I have a pulled hamstring but that’s not stopping me. There is just too much life out there to have, and I’m going to take my piece of it!

    Thanks for sporting those pom poms and cheering us on Tom! RAH!

  5. Paul Maurice Martin says:

    “Somewhere in your life right now is a dream, a passion, a quest or simply an enjoyable pastime that you may have set aside because “they” said that you should.”

    That’s a great point about including pastimes in that list. Sometimes circumstances don’t let a person quit their day job, but if you want to do something badly enough, it’s often possible to do it on your own time.

  6. Hi Tom. Saying “screw em”… it’s just like telling the saboteurs to take a flying leap. There are a lot of people who simply embody our saboteur cause like they always say, we see in others what’s in ourselves. Have a great rugby game!
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Guest Post: Three Shades of Happiness =-.

  7. Hi Tom – You are always encouraging everyone to really be themselves – which I LOVE! I like what you are saying about not needing further schooling, and your “Ideal careers and businesses are more often created than found” – I agree entirely – R
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..An Eventful Month =-.

  8. Katie West/The Levity Coach says:

    Yahooo! To hell with what “they” say is right! I think there is great liberation when we get “them” out of heads and start living in resonance with ourselves. I think it takes A LOT of courage to do so and I think there is a lot of risk involved…but the reward is like the Thurman quote, at least we will know that we are pulling our own strings…and that is what keeps me truckin’.
    .-= Katie West/The Levity Coach´s last blog ..How do you start your day? =-.

  9. Brett Legree says:


    My pleasure – you’re a true warrior, and you’ve made amazing progress. I’ll have a look at that book too.

    Give ’em hell Tom!
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..seemingly random thoughts on a rainy tuesday evening. =-.

  10. Hi Tom,

    I entirely agree with pursuing your own dream and marching to your own drum.

    Now the disagreement. Which you may well say, “To hell with him” about. Your body is part of yourself, those ankles have something to say. If it’s one more game I guess it’s not too big a deal, if it was keeping on playing I’d be concerned for you. (If this is patronising, so be it, I apologise – but I don’t withdraw.)
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Living Authentically =-.

  11. Barbara – Indeed passion is a powerful driver of connection. I’ve learned to consider who I’m asking when I share ideas. Some folks just have the critical built into them and they are better to show things to once you are strong and determined but only tweaking.

    J.D. – In Rocky Balboa his most recent he did it one more time again. 🙂 I love Jack LaLane, especially how he thumbs at old age. I guess for that one day in August I’ll be a warrior sage.

    Laurie – Yep I’m with you. If need be in the service of joy then wear this body out. I can’t take it with me. 🙂

    Brett – Thanks for weighing in with me. I’m still jogging now but I have five weeks to get ready and I’ll start wind sprints in another two. Age makes things hurt but body progress feels so sweet! When I started three weeks ago I couldn’t jog more than 20 yards. I made it all the way around a half mile track last night. Good for you man. I love barefootin it as well. If you haven’t read the novel, Once A Runner, read it soon. Very inspirational and real. I always appreciate your support.

    Paul – That’s right we have no excuses. Even if we think we are locked into a job they let us out sometime. Settling does not have to be in every damn area of your life. Let freedom ring where you can go for it!

    Davina – Interesting thought indeed. My ex-wife upon hearing something that grated her would always say, “that’s me too.” Thanks for a wise but not so pleasant reminder of this truth.

    Robin – I live to encourage authenticity and I’m so grateful to friends like you who recognize me for it.

    Evan – No need to apologize. I’m solid with you. But I must disagree. I don’t think with my ankles. I don’t feel with them either. The stainless steel screws that have replaced my joints can take the hits. Doc said so. But it’s my spirit that I’m not ready to retire. It’s the discipline of getting back into shape that makes my heart sing within the pain. By the way, I know what my ankles are saying. “Jeez 270 is 50 pounds too much give us a break will you?” I’m working on it. 🙂

  12. Katie – Yippee indeed! Life is to be lived all the way, flat out. Screw judgment and screw moderation. It doesn’t fit me well. Keep truckin. 🙂 Peace back at you, but not too much.

  13. I’d go for it, too, if I could just figure out what “it” is. I was not trying to channel Bill Clinton with that sentence. 🙂
    .-= Dot´s last blog ..Comment on My Mother Has Passed by Davina =-.

  14. Tom – you rock – as always.

    The absolute WORST business ideas are those launched in pursuit of wealth.

    On the other hand, the absolute BEST ones are those launched in pursuit of passion – okay maybe a better word would be OBSESSION!!!

    Why doesn’t it surprise me to know that you’re a Rugby player? I should have known that your passions run deep AND wide!!!

    Great advice – as always!!!
    .-= Kathy | Virtual Impax´s last blog ..Business Building Secret: People are actually pretty smart… =-.

  15. Suzanne @ vAssistant Services says:

    “Somewhere in your life right now is a dream, a passion, a quest or simply an enjoyable pastime that you may have set aside because “they” said that you should. To hell with them! Be your own bad ass self and dust off your true desires.”

    Seventeen years ago, I experienced an “ah ha” moment that planted a “to hell with them!” seed garden in my life. Turns out, it was like bamboo…no visible evidence of growth for a long, long time…but then WOOOSH! Up from the ground I’ve come these last few years. In all kinds of amazing ways in all areas of my life.

    Being my own bad ass self is what some would tell you I’ve been up to all my life. Well…they ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!!

    I’ve committed to this wild ride of MY OWN creation and I’m having one helluva time! Every day I’m a better mom, a better business person, a better friend…a better ME, and it’s all because I let go of giving a shit what others would think or say and asked MYSELF what do I think? What do I say?

    Instead of being “full of myself” as I had feared becoming if I let go and lived life on my terms like this, I am more compassionate and tolerant of others, and it feels good and fuels my progress.
    .-= Suzanne @ vAssistant Services´s last blog ..Adventures in Changing Domain Names =-.

  16. You always know just what to say! Like Brett, I love the motivation from your posts. It’s funny because when I left corporate three years ago I started my business offering one thing…then I listened to all the noise around me and freaked out thinking what I was doing was “wrong” and would never make me any money…now it seems I’m coming full circle, in a very evolved way, to what my heart really loves and is similar to what I started with, just a little bit different and even more fun for me. And hopefully even more useful to those around me.

    Not an easy task to clear the noise…lots of work in the process…but man does it feel good!
    .-= Stacey Shipman´s last blog ..Blame it On the Rain? =-.

  17. Tom,
    Great post and thank you for the motivation this morning on my Want – the Biggy!
    Hey for another month and a half we are the same age! and hopefully for only another week – the same weight! Only I am 5’9″ and don’t wish to play rugby.

    Loving one’s self is such a powerful thing….You go guy! and so will I….damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..The Magic WANT! =-.

  18. Dot – If you dare to dig I’ll gift you with an exploratory session to discover your authentic sweet spot. You have a big “it” just like we all do. But you’re right you’ve got to identify it to go for it!

    Kathy – Yep passion on the pitch is so powerful and like most good things I stumbled on it. I love following hunches and exploring the possibilities.

    Suzanne – Amazing isn’t it? No matter how much we express ourselves there is always more to unveil. You keep at it. I like what I see so far and even if I didn’t so what! We gotta be who we are.

    Stacey – Thanks for telling us the story of your evolution. I’nm so pleased that you’ve cleared the noise. The world needs you as you are – giving your all from your heart!

    Patricia – I absolutely love your courage. That’s the beauty in this c blogging community. Everyone tells it like it is and goes for what is meaningful. Right on! I’m dropping the pounds as well.

  19. Tom,

    This post was perfect timing for me! I’m seriously considering what I want my next passion to be…it’s simmering right now, but I’m confident it will emerge soon.

    My favorite line in this post is, “That bold being [in you] wants to experience all the necessary bumps, disappointments and scrapes on the way to really living.” THIS IS SO TRUE.

    Also, regarding the rugby, my daughter is so like you, except she’s an Ultimate Frisbee person. She’ll do anything to get out there and play….unfortunately sometimes her body says NO, but as soon she can, she’s back at it:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..The Second Chance =-.

  20. Sara – Good show, I’m glad that you enjoy your bumps as well as the glide. Real life stumbles and shines. Tell your daughter to play until she can’t any longer. Life is a sport for those of us who find our groove. 🙂

  21. Rugby?! Of course! NOW I understand why you’re always carrying on about not being able to find a decent hooker.

  22. I love what Tess Marshall wrote in her “Flying By The Seat Of My Soul” book — Reminds me of this post. To paraphrase her, when we’re giving our best it’s just what people want most. Sounds pretty obvious. But true.

    I too, as Barbara Swafford, was particularly impressed by the line “Ideal careers and businesses are more often created than found.” There is only one you, Tom And only one me. You go for that rugby game. And I’ll go for that Kerville New Folk prize next year!
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Like a bord on a wire, 9 =-.

  23. Bill – Ha ha, 🙂 for those of you with little rugby knowledge a hooker is a key position in the scrum named for the player’s ability to sweep his leg out and hook the ball for his team.

    Jannie – Absolutely we’ve got to go for it regardless of what others say and think. They don’t count. Each individual expressing boldly is what makes life great.

  24. Evelyn Lim says:

    You said “True callings need no further explanation”. Yay!! I can’t agree more!!

    I know what some of my friends are saying when they learn about my latest ventures. They are puzzled over why I would give up a previous stable job for something “woo woo”.

    Well, I am still going for it!!
    .-= Evelyn Lim´s last blog ..Love The Man In The Mirror =-.

  25. I’m not much into rugby, but I like the sound of someone living sopassionately. My passion’s about helping job seekers (a bit less troublesome on the ankles) and I’ve run into a few that like playing it safe and then complain about how unsatisfied they are with their lives. You get what you pay for.

    For some of the commenters, I’ve got a review of “What Color Is Your Parachute @ that can help you as you discern your next cool thing to do. Might be of help.
    .-= Jorge Lazaro Diaz´s last blog ..Wild-Card Interview Questions? What Do You Do? =-.

  26. Evelyn – Stand strong on what you know. It’s only woo-woo to them because of their own fears.

    Jorge – Welcome man and thanks for the link. I’ll be sure to check it out soon. Playing it safe just does not work.

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