True Armor

“I’d hold you up to say to your mother, “this kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilige. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did.

But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know.

The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! 

I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life. Don’t forget to visit your mother.”

The above monologue is one of my favorite quotes of all time. Taken from Rocky Balboa, it follows the dialogue between Rocky and his son. When I read it, it inspires me to step up my game and rise to meet the challenges life throws at me.

This month, I’ve had quite a few had things happen. My iPad was stolen, workload was slashed dramatically, and I have had a lot of very difficult situations to mentally process and work over. Each one of these things took an appropriate toll on me, and it really hit me hard over the past two days.

However, nowhere in life were we promised that it would be a piece of cake or somehow easy. In fact, I can most certainly assure you that life will present you with countless difficulties, in relation to the number of risks and steps you take that are out of the ordinary.

Someday, when I have children, I will want them to know that failing is not as important as making the conscious effort to get back up and try again. I won’t want them to expect that life is going to be easy or handed to them, but to expect challenges with everything they set themselves to, and to rise to the occasion of meeting and beating these challenges. I won’t want them to look for the easy route, or the path traveled by others, but for the paths that have yet to be cut down and tread upon. I’ll want them to have a good understanding of what it means to live, rather than just survive.

And, of course, I’ll want them to visit their mother and tell them how much they love her.

At several points in life, I have lost my confidence and drive. Each time I rediscovered them, they introduced me to their friends Experience and Determination. 

Other times, I met the dark fiend of Failure. Fortunately, Success was hiding right behind him. All I needed to do was knock down failure rather than turn away.

I have been overly blessed with the best friends a man could ask for. These people have been such a source of encouragement, strength, and happiness over the past few years. They’re the type of people you want to stay close to for the rest of your life, because you know situation, circumstances, and location cannot separate the bond you share.

All of these people I have had the honor and privilege of meeting in Columbus, OH, and have separated as time goes on and each of us have pursued our dreams and ambitions. In no specific order of importance, I consider these people to be the core group of people I can count on, who have also experienced many challenges over the years and have come out victorious:

I’m thankful for my brother, Mark Plaat, who is currently located in Pensacola, FL, serving our nation in the Navy. Mark has inspired, motivated, and challenged me to reach for greatness.

I’m thankful for Travis Tucker, who is currently going through the Columbus, OH, Police Academy. Travis taught me, more than anybody I’ve ever met, what it means to be a man and a warrior at heart. He also taught me to follow the “Tucker Standard” when it comes to relationships.

I’m thankful for Michael Cappetta, who is currently in Columbus, OH. I consider him to be one of the most successful young entrepreneurs I know, who has shared with me the many joys, pains, and dreams of entrepreneurship.

I’m thankful for my friend, Neethi Johnson, who lives in Boston, MA, and is going to medical school. Neethi is a constant source of joy, laughter, but also a reminder to pursue your goals throughout any hardship that may occur. She is also the #1 reason I returned to The Ohio State University to graduate after taking a 3 year adventure.

I’m thankful for my friend Stephanie Rodgers, who’s living in New York City. Stephanie has been one of the best friends a person could ask for. She’s helped me understand what it means to be a friend, while also taking life situations – that would normally make somebody scream – with a shot of laughter; or Four Loko.

I’m thankful for my friend Paul Bolaji, who I will be joining shortly in Dallas, TX. Paul has taught me to not just pursue excellence, but to make it a lifestyle. Paul also has the innate ability to call at the specific second (divine appointment embodied) where my mind has reached new levels of frustration. And he has always been there to support, encourage, and challenge.

“A warriors true armor are those to his left and his right”

Time for battle, son.



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