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How often do you tell yourself that within you is an invincible summer?

Today is July 30 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you tell yourself that within you is an invincible summer?” Those who navigate the chaos understand what French philosopher Albert Camus wrote in Return to Tipasa “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” In his July 3, 2015, blog "On Albert Camus's 'Return to Tipasa:’”

Humanities professor Dr. Antony Lyon wrote “In Return to Tipasa, Camus returns to Algeria for the second time since World War II. In his first trip, he went out to the ruins of Tipasa, an old Roman city, where he spent endless summer days when he was young, and he was disappointed with the experience. His first trip to Tipasa failed because he wanted it to be the same as when he was young.”

When he returned to Tipasa the ruins had changed as they were fenced off with a guard now posted. These new developments destroyed the sense of being alone and free that young Camus had enjoyed there.

Lyon noted “Of course, it’s more than that. Even if the ruins were the same, Camus was not. On this second pilgrimage, he’s more modest in his desire and seeks only a moment. For Camus, he is returning home; he has a relationship with this place. This is where he was young, and his hope, twenty years later, is that some of the freedom and innocence he knew then continued to rest in this space because he had stopped feeling it long ago.”

Something transcendent happened to Camus in Tipasa on this return to Tipasa. We recognize the importance of the whole scene—of Tipasa and of Camus. The moment is a communion between humanity and nature. In this moment, Camus does not exactly change—he becomes more the person he always was. This is the key to understanding the transcendent moment in nature: You experience a change that is not really a change; you become what you already are.

Those who translate their dreams into reality, who live with intention, and navigate the chaos understand they are becoming what they already are. They understand ‘in the depth of winter they learned that within them lay an invincible summer.’ This unfolding of their potential is a process of self-discovery that blossoms with each passing day.

Austrian American actor, businessman, and former politician and professional bodybuilder Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger understood from his adolescence that within him lay an invincible summer. In a 2019 speech discussing his six rules for success, Schwarzenegger discussed how he envisioned his potential early on while in Austria. According to Schwarzenegger: “I was born in 1947 in Austria after the Second World War and I didn't really like Austria and could not wait to get out of there when I got older. I just could not see myself becoming a farmer or a worker in a factory or anything like that even though my parents wanted me to stay there and have a normal life. My father wanted me to become a police officer like he was and my mother wanted me just to stay there and marry a girl in the name of Heidi hopefully and have a bunch of kids and run around like the Von Trapp family in The Sound of Music but that was their vision not mine my vision was totally different.”

To become what he already was, to allow his invincible summer to shine within, Schwarzenegger turned to body building. As he continued in his speech: “When people saw me in the gym working out so hard for five or six hours a day they would ask ‘why do you have always a smile on your face when others are working out just as hard as you do and they have a sour look in their face?’ I would tell them I am shooting for the Mr. Universe title so every rep that I do gets me closer to accomplishing the goal. To make this vision turn into reality every single set that I do every repetition every weight that I lift will get my step closer to my goal. Remember, work your ass off as there is no magic pill. You cannot get around the hard work that needs to get done. I couldn’t wait to do another 500-pound squat I couldn't wait it to another 500-pound bench press I couldn’t wait to do another 2,000 reps of sit-ups I couldn't wait for the next exercise. At the age of 20 I went to London and became the youngest ever to win the Mr. Universe title.”

As he accomplished one goal after another, eventually turning his attention toward acting and politics, Schwarzenegger continued to allow his invincible summer to shine but grew to learn from failing.

“Don't be afraid of failing because there's nothing wrong with failing. You have to fail in order to climb that ladder. There's no one that doesn't fail. We all fail. It's okay. What is not okay is that when you fail you stay down. Whoever stays down is a loser and winners will fail and get up, fail, and get up, fail, and get up, you always get up. So, relax, it's okay to fail. Just go all out and give it everything that you got. That's what it is all about; so, don't be afraid to fail.”

  • Schwarzenegger understood that within him lay an invincible summer. How often do you?

  • How often are you afraid of failing?

  • How often do you maintain a vision for who you want to be?

  • How often are you putting in the hard work each day to translate your dreams into reality?

  • When you are down and feeling sorry for yourself, how often do you remind yourself that within you lay an invincible summer?


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