In almost every objective measure, life today is better than it has ever been in history. I realize that’s not the optimistic perspective you hear from the news and social media, but facts are facts.
You know as well as I do that most people don’t see things that way, though. If you’re not a white, heterosexual male in America, you’ve likely learned you’re a victim of something. And even for those who don’t see themselves as intersectionality-based victims, you might still feel like things aren’t very good. That you’re not happy enough or that life is too hard.
As of 2021, there are fewer than two million Greatest Generation Americans still living. This era of Americans came of age during the Great Depression (which wasn’t an epidemic of emotional depression, by the way) and fought in World War II, stopping Hitler and the National Socialists (Nazis).
Not only did they stop Hitler and his atrocities against humanity, they also returned from the war and helped the United States become the most successful and most respected country in the world. I’m sure for the remaining two million, it’s heart-wrenching to see the number of people burning flags and businesses, raging against our republic, and supporting socialism and communism.
In his book, The Greatest Generation, Tom Brokaw described the men and women he interviewed with the following words:
A sense of personal responsibility and commitment to honesty is characteristic of this generation.
One after another they (people he interviewed) volunteered how in their families and in their communities they were expected to be responsible for their behavior, honesty was assumed to be the rule, not the exception. They also talked matter-of-factly about a sense of duty to their country, a sentiment not much in fashion anymore.Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation
I first published a blog post about suckituptitude on August 3, 2017. Signs of self-centeredness and victimhood were prevalent then, but at nowhere near the extent as today. It’s as though the virtues of Greatest Generation are being replaced by those of the most selfish, fragile, and irresponsible.
So, I decided to update my original blog post and republish it with what you’re reading now. I realize that bringing more suckituptitude back into our culture isn’t the only answer to fixing the dysfunction we see today, but I do believe it can be part of the solution.
- What is suckituptitude?
- 1. You are responsible for much and entitled to little
- 2: You can’t control everything, but you can control yourself
- 3: Obstacles create detours, not roadblocks
- 4: You are a special person with common problems, not a common person with special problems
- 5: The discomfort you can handle is relative to the discomfort you’ve handled
- 6: If your beliefs and choices are outside cultural norms, you can either conform to the culture or live outside the norms, but you shouldn’t expect the culture to conform to you.
- Suck it Up!
What is suckituptitude?
Suckituptitude is the antithesis of living in a state of self-centered victimhood. It’s the attitude held by many of those who’ve persevered throughout history and achieved personal or professional success without using deception or relying on criminal behavior to do so.
In essence, it’s living each day with a “suck it up” attitude. Suckituptitude is kind of like Sisu – a Finnish word that doesn’t directly translate to English but can be described as determination, spirit, resolve, courage, persistence, guts, tenacity, steadfastness, perseverance, mettle, and stubbornness.
The following six principles of suckituptitude. Those who live with these principles maintain strength, optimism, and confidence in their:
- thought, which dismisses fear and discomfort, two feelings that lead to complacency or inaction, and turns frustrations and irritations inward towards one’s self instead of outward towards others
- speech, which avoids placing blame, complaining, or criticizing others
- action, which always aims to move forward and protect what’s good and wholesome
1. You are responsible for much and entitled to little
Isn’t it amazing how many people have this backward today?
The Declaration of Independence outlines the “rights” of U.S. citizens: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have the right to pursue happiness, but we are not entitled to happiness itself.
Many self-help books get this wrong, as do the memes that tell you to just “do what you love.” They create the false expectation that the world is here for your happiness. In reality, you’re here in the world for your contribution. Contribution leads to joy and happiness.
The world would have you set down your responsibilities and pursue what you want in the moment. That’s why so many men forgo their responsibility of fatherhood, opting to spend their time playing video games, getting drunk, or finding some other form of recreation.
It’s why young adults hang out at home, mooching off of mom and dad rather than moving out and supporting themselves.
Left-wing politicians want us to feel entitled. It’s why they position so many groups of people as victims. Victimhood creates division, and it also creates dependence. They want the public to feel dependent upon the government the same way a baby depends on its mother (err…birthing parent).
The truth is, you’re not entitled to much of anything. Neither am I. When you realize that, a whole world of opportunity opens to you.
When you believe you are responsible for much and entitled to little, you change your expectations.
You don’t expect the people around you to meet your every need and “the universe” to do your bidding. You don’t look for others to cheer you on as you take on basic adult responsibilities, and you shudder at the idea of using the hashtag #adultingishard.
Those with suckituptitude crave more responsibility because responsibility leads to opportunity.
Entitled people blame, criticize, and point fingers at others. They see themselves as victims. Responsible people take ownership, build others up, and point their fingers first at themselves.
When they get angry about their situation, they turn that anger toward themselves, not toward others. When they look for a way out of the problem, they search for the solution inside themselves and ask for help as needed, rather than waiting for someone else to bail them out or toss them a lifeline.
Imagine how different our country would be today if most adults held onto just this one belief. Instead, our culture is turning upside down because most people have this belief backward.
2: You can’t control everything, but you can control yourself
Life frequently throws each of us unexpected, unplanned, it-couldn’t-be-worse-timing curveballs. Uncertainty is certain.
To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.Oscar Wilde
Sometimes, other people cause problems. Other times, stuff just happens. Most of the time, we cause our problems ourselves.
It doesn’t matter where the problem comes from. Once you’re aware of it, you have the choice to moan, groan, complain, cry, call your friends, post about it online…or do something.
Whining and complaining don’t change the situation. They often make you feel worse than you did when you first realized the position you were in.
The longer you wallow in self-pity, the more you complain about your situation with others, and the angrier you get at others for your situation, the more helpless you become.
I have a friend named Jason Thunstrom. He is a master of handling the unexpected.
Jason is in charge of public relations for a billion-dollar company.
He and his team get to set up news interviews, send out press releases, and highlight all the cool stuff his company is doing. That’s the easy part.
They also have to handle emergencies, employee and customer injuries, and the chaos one disgruntled and “entitled” employee creates.
Jason is great at making the good stuff sound even more amazing. But his gift, really, is to remain calm and collected and lead his team, and even the whole company, through what could be a disaster.
He faces situations he cannot control all the time. In each situation, he first controls himself so that he can come up with a plan of action for his team, as well as his company.
Jason has the skills to handle the unexpected for his company because he can handle the unexpected for himself. He knows that in the midst of chaos, he is the only thing he can control.
Fortunately, that’s often all you need to control, to turn a problem into an opportunity.
Jason knew the secret to handle the unexpected. He expected it. He didn’t get overly emotional because he knows emotions sabotage one’s thinking.
It’s not that he wanted bad stuff to happen. But, because he understood what could happen, he wasn’t caught off guard when it did.
There is a difference between expecting things to happen and preparing for them to happen.
It’s Murphy’s law that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Control what you can control, which begins with you. The faster you get a handle on your emotions, the faster you can see what you can do.
3: Obstacles create detours, not roadblocks
Mr. Mischke was my high school football coach. I was a ski jumper and didn’t want to risk an injury from football to mess with my ski season, so I only played football my senior year. I don’t have a great touchdown story to share, but I do have an important life lesson to pass along.
I doubt that Mr. Mischke was even aware of how much more valuable this lesson was for real life, than it was for the football field. He taught me this lesson in one of our drills.
The drill’s goal was to run the ball downfield, toward the goal line, between two rows of linemen.
Each lineman held onto a pad the size of a large suitcase, making it look like you had to run through a tunnel. As I took the ball and ran into the tunnel, their objective was to knock me on my butt.
As I entered the tunnel of pads and linemen, the blows came from any direction. Some hit me head-on, while others came from the right or left. Sometimes I got jolted from behind.
This went on for 5-10 yards.
Outside the line, Mr. Mischke yelled again and again, “Keep your feet moving!”
The linemen out weighted me by 50-125 pounds. As long as I kept my feet moving, I regained my momentum and moved the ball forward.
However, if my feet stopped, I’d landed flat on my butt before I had time to blink.
That is the perfect analogy for life!
Sometimes obstacles come with a warning. Other times, you get blindsided.
Some obstacles slow you down, and others force you onto a new path toward your goals. Still other times, you’re driven several steps back before you can regain your momentum and move forward again.
If you see your obstacles as roadblocks, you stop moving your feet. You stop taking action. And when you do, it’s often hard to get going again.
If you have suckituptitude, you keep your feet moving. You might take a detour, but you find a way to move, even if it’s slower than you’d like. You know that no matter what happens, you have to keep your feet moving.
Turning pro is a mindset. If we are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, we’re thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don’t show up. Amateurs crap out. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin’, no matter what.Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
I watched Vanessa embrace this belief in the fall of 2015. Her mom passed away that November, after a long fight against Lewy Body dementia. We made time to be with her family, to take care of the funeral arrangements, and all that was necessary to say goodbye to her mom.
However, we also own a business and have a responsibility to grow and support our team. Vanessa started the business, so she feels an even greater sense of responsibility than I do.
She knew no one would fault her if she checked out of the business for a while. But she also knew that if she stopped, even for a short period of time, she’d lose touch with the team and lose momentum in the business.
She kept her hand in the business while assisting her family and being there for her father. In the end, I don’t believe they got any less of her attention, and she didn’t have to deal with the stress of rebuilding momentum and making up for lost time.
Her ability to navigate through and around setbacks, obstacles, and unexpected situations is a big reason why she built such a thriving business. She doesn’t stop moving her feet.
I’ve known many people who were on pace toward their fitness goals. Then they faced a family vacation, a change in work schedule, their kids’ summer break, the holidays, or some other minor inconvenience, and they let it derail their program.
In our network marketing business, a single disappointment or unsupportive friend knocks some people right out of their business.
Like him or not, President Trump epitomizes this principle, too. The assault on him and his family has been appalling to say the least. And yet, he continues to show up and do his part to protect America from the left’s assaults.
Whether it’s weight loss, career advancement, success in a home-based business, recovery from an addiction, or building a fantastic marriage, or protecting America’s values and constitutional principles, the only way you can fail is if you stop moving your feet. You’ll have seasons where you trot in place and seasons where you sprint forward, but you cannot stop, no matter the roadblocks or obstacles.
Keep your feet moving!
4: You are a special person with common problems, not a common person with special problems
About 107 billion people have ever lived on the earth. Seven billion are alive right now.
While you are a unique person, and there will never be another just like you, the problems you face are not as unique as you are. In fact, they’re quite common.
I don’t say that to dismiss whatever trouble you face. I say this because if we look hard enough, we can usually find someone who’s been in the same spot as us and has come out on top.
Out of 107 billion people, there are likely dozens, if not hundreds, or even thousands of examples of people who’ve succeeded after facing the same problems you do.
If you like to feel sorry for yourself or enjoy the attention you get when others feel sorry for you, you might get pissed at this belief. After all, if your problems are common, then you don’t deserve special treatment for them.
I’m certain that someone who’s reading this has a one-in-a-million situation. I’m sorry for that. And I’m not really writing this for you. I’m writing it for all the people who define themselves by their common problems.
If you see yourself as a common person with special problems, you’ll tell yourself there’s nothing you can do. You’re so special that nobody can understand you and your situation.
You might use phrases like “this is just who I am, this is how it’s always been, this always happens to me, nobody understands me, I’ll never…, I always…, I can’t…”
Someone who believes they’re the only one who has such a problem often believes they deserve certain privileges or special treatment. They believe they’re entitled.
When you believe your problems are common, you also realize that you can learn from others who have gone through the same situation. You might find a faster way to get through the problem you face.
You might also find emotional relief from simply knowing others have faced what you face. That realization can provide confidence to attack the situation head-on.
Be forewarned, though: Believing you are a special person with common problems comes at a cost. You can no longer use your problems as excuses or expect entitlements.
5: The discomfort you can handle is relative to the discomfort you’ve handled
“This burn on my finger hurts so much!” It was the third time I had heard our son complain about it. I won’t use his name to protect his innocence. We only have two sons, so you’d have a 50/50 chance of being right if you really wanted to guess, though.
So, I thought to myself, this was a teaching moment!
I said, “(Son), if your burned finger really hurts that bad, the best thing you can do is hit yourself on your hand with a hammer.”
Before you judge me as a father, let me explain what I then explained to my son.
Your tolerance for pain, work, setbacks, criticism, and any other discomfort is relative to the discomfort you’ve handled in the past.
When I had this conversation, he was a young adult, but he hadn’t experienced much pain beyond the burned finger before. He somehow escaped injuries throughout his younger years.
So, for him, the pain of an oven burn was near the top of his pain threshold. On the other hand, if he’d slammed his hand with a hammer after missing a nail in the past, the burn wouldn’t cause the same relative pain as it did at that moment.
I had leukemia when I was five. After I was treated, I had regular checkups for the next fourteen years at the Mayo Clinic. During that time, I had more spinal taps and bone marrow tests than I can count.
A spinal tap feels like you might expect…a long, thin needle piercing your spine. It’s hurts, but not like the bone marrow test.
A bone marrow test felt more like the doctor was pushing his thumb through my spine – the fat side first, not the end of his thumb. I can still picture myself squeezing my dad’s hand with all my might while the doctors performed the procedure.
Most of the other physical pain I’ve experienced since then – ski jumping crashes, dropping hot solder on my hands, mountain bike crashes, and tendon reattachment surgeries – didn’t seem as painful as they might have, if I hadn’t experienced the spinal taps and bone marrow tests as a kid.
This belief doesn’t apply only to physical discomfort, either. It also applies to emotional or mental discomfort.
It’s part of the reason “participation ribbons” are so ridiculous. When someone grows up being rewarded for stuff that’s not really reward-worthy, they expect that same treatment as adults.
But as adults, there are winners and losers. If you don’t learn to graciously lose as a kid, what will happen as an adult? Will you be crushed the first time you get turned down for a job or when you’re passed by for a promotion even though you “showed up” just as many times as the guy or girl who got the promotion?
The more we learn to handle rejection, disappointment, failure, or ridicule from others, the more of it we can tolerate as we grow.
For example, if someone sends me a message after reading this article and says, “You’re a “f*cking idiot!” I won’t let it bother me that much. I’ve already been called that by the CEO of a company I worked for in the past. I also know that he appreciates what I did while I was there, other than what we covered in that particular meeting.
If you want big success, you’ve got to endure big failures. To handle big failures, though, you’ve got to face and handle small ones.
Raise your tolerance for discomfort so that when you’re faced with the choice between discomfort and success or comfort and life as is, you make the right choice. You suck it up and go for it.
6: If your beliefs and choices are outside cultural norms, you can either conform to the culture or live outside the norms, but you shouldn’t expect the culture to conform to you.
That’s a long one, but. I couldn’t figure out how to write it with more brevity.
If I moved to Japan and, after living there for a while, started venting on Tick Tock about how the Japanese people oppress me and hurt my feelings because they don’t speak English, you’d probably think I was a moron.
But that’s the sort of absurdity we see play out across America. Rather than Americans adopting American beliefs, ideals, and ways of life, we see America get transitioned into something that makes every idea, choice, and action acceptable. In some states, even crime is on the path to becoming normalized and acceptable.
According to the far left, we’re supposed to support a teenager who says she’s really a dog in a human body and a biological male who chooses to change genders and wants to play on a girl’s sports team. We’re supposed to respect an athlete who wants to be part of the U.S. Olympic team while she shows how much she hates the U.S.
We’re supposed to watch shoplifters steal stuff from businesses and assume they’re stealing because they don’t have money to buy the stuff.
Our nation provides all sorts of freedoms and opportunities to its citizens. But that doesn’t mean everyone must accept each person’s beliefs, choices, and preferences. Nor does one’s beliefs entitle them to illegal behavior.
If the collective culture doesn’t bend over backwards to welcome your beliefs, choices, and preferences, that doesn’t mean you can’t have them. You just have to accept that you’ll feel some resistance if you push them on others. You can be you and accept the resistance, or you can change so you don’t feel it. Either option is a way to suck it up.
Suck it Up!
In most cases, it isn’t the world that holds people back from their goals and dreams; it’s themselves. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
There’s nothing really remarkable about the principles above. It’s just that they fly in the face of our current culture’s promotions of individual truths over “truth,” prioritizing individual’s feelings over facts, the extreme lengths people will go to create victims and oppressors, and when they can’t put themselves in the victim’s position, they become superstar virtual signalers.
- take responsibility
- control yourself
- keep your feet moving toward your goals every day
- understand that your problems are not special or unique
- keep expanding your tolerance for discomfort, and
- stop expecting the culture to conform to you
you put yourself in the perfect mental state to succeed in fitness, business, relationships, finances or your career. More than that, you bring back some of the greatness of The Greatest Generation, something we need in today’s self-centered, upside down, victimhood culture.
Stephenson, Wesley (Feb. 4, 2012). “Do the dead outnumber the living?” BBC News. Retrieved Jul 27 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16870579
Gugliotta, Guy (April 2, 2012). “New Estimate Raises Civil War Death Toll.” New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.