Success is like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.
An entrepreneur said this recently online.
My first thought was, “You probably shouldn’t wrestle a gorilla.”
I used the word “probably” because even in the quietness of my head I was trying to be polite, not honest.
You definitely shouldn’t wrestle a gorilla.
They’re incredibly strong and capable of ripping your face off. I don’t even think that’s their finishing move. I think that’s maybe an opening move, which says quite a lot about the ferocity of gorillas.
That’s just a meaningless motivational statement, something the Internet is populated with right now. Here are two others I just made up.
“Success is like playing backgammon with an antelope. You never know where it will leap next.”
“Success is like watching Netflix with a Gaboon Viper. Difficult.”
Those pearls of wisdom are not in my book Do Over because my editor had this strange thing about “only putting things in the book that will actually help people make the most of their careers and dreams.” Go figure.
If a self-proclaimed self-help expert ever says to you, “To be successful, you have to wrestle this gorilla,” you should really question what it is you’re doing with your life at that exact moment. Or maybe the better question is “Why does this guy have a gorilla?”
Why does his personal definition of success involve opposable thumb to opposable thumb combat?
If he’s honest, he’ll give you one of two possible answers:
1. He runs a terrible human/gorilla fighting tournament and tricking people into competing is the only way to drum up participants. (Convincing the gorilla mainly just involves the procurement of bananas.)
2. We as a society are running out of motivational statements to incorrectly assign to Abraham Lincoln and are now forced to make up our own even if they don’t make sense.
Either way, you definitely shouldn’t wrestle a gorilla.