Desire Success? Go All the Way or Don’t Even Start

What do you desire but haven't fully committed to? Do you really want it? How badly? Heed the words of Bukowski and go all the way (or don't even start).


if you’re going to try, go all the
otherwise, don’t even start.

if you’re going to try, go all the
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.

go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
endurance, of
how much you really want to
do it.
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with

do it, do it, do it.
do it.

all the way
all the way.

you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, its
the only good fight
there is.

Roll the Dice by Charles Bukowski

Reading Charles Bukowski can be a sobering experience. Granted I’ve never read any of his books—my exposure is limited to videos I’ve come across online—but the poem above struck a chord in me the first time I heard it and every listening since then.

Its message is about removing the chains that bind us and offering full commitment to whatever cause we’ve chosen. At a more fundamental level it’s about freedom.

I listened to it recently and it reminded me of the idea I was trying to express in The Secret to Success in Life. Namely, we must remove the safety net of Plan B to increase the odds of success in Plan A. The odds are better when there’s a singularity of focus.

What it Means to Go All the Way

Too often we dabble in things and don’t understand why we’re not achieving our desired outcome. We offer half-hearted effort for prolonged periods with the belief that consistency can drive results. It can’t. At least not consistency by itself.

The path from where we are to where we want to be is not straight, at least not when big dreams are in play. We must show creativity and resourcefulness along the way while offering full commitment.

Hard work shouldn’t be confused for full commitment either. I’m reminded of a former friend and coworker that put full effort into his job, outperforming most of his peers, but he couldn’t get the promotion he was seeking.

My friends bosses wanted him to be a good leader on top of being a good contributor. He responded by working doubly hard to execute his tasks rather than developing the leadership skills he needed to take the next step.

Going all the way is to work on what needs to be done until we get what we desire. If one thing doesn’t work we need to try the next, and then the next, until we hit pay dirt. This can mean having to wait a long time while trying many different methods but it’s worth it. Few achievements can withstand the pressure of consistent and targeted effort.

Making the Hard Decisions

Bukowski points out that we will need to risk something in order to gain. He specifically mentions girlfriends, wives, relatives, and jobs. Now most of us wouldn’t risk these things for our dreams—at least I wouldn’t—but there’s nothing to say we can’t go all the way in different areas of our lives.

I can choose to be a good family man, with full commitment, while also fully committing myself to a particular career. The two are not mutually exclusive and I can be a success at both. The problem is when we dabble here and there, leaving a way out for ourselves, while not pushing the envelope in any one area.

This brings me to my courageous act of the week. I disabled the Instagram and Twitter accounts related to this blog. Why? Because I’d been posting on those mediums half-heartedly for a few months now. It was a tough thing to do but I feel it was the right thing.

I haven’t decided to shut the accounts down forever. After all, I do need to market this blog somehow, but I need time to think on what I really hope to accomplish and how I want to do it. Once I’ve made the decision I need full investment in that direction. I need to go all the way.

What about you? What do you desire but haven’t fully committed to? Do you really want it? How badly? Heed the words of Bukowski and go all the way (or don’t even start).

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