After many years of working and learning, Mike has come to understand that commitment can make or break any achievement. Mike learned that to be committed, we must be among the unique 5% or less who are willing to do what the majority won’t. In this enlightening episode, he shares his journey and explains the importance of commitment in our lives. No matter what life throws at us, we must learn from it and never give up. This resilience and undying spirit is what commitment truly signifies.
Check out the video version of this episode below:
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Episode transcript below:
0:00:00 – Mike Malatesta
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Hey everybody, welcome back to this Friday solo free Thinking Friday episode of the how it Happened podcast. I am so happy to have you here. Thank you for joining me today. And today I’m going to be talking about something called commitment and I am calling this episode Be Hard to Kill, and the reason I want to talk about commitment is a couple of Free Thinking. Friday episodes ago I talked about integrity and, if you remember, I had an opportunity to be a keynote speaker at an event back in August about what it means to be an icon, and I was really stoked to do that and I was really surprised actually to be asked to do it and humbled. But I came up with these five things that I think qualities that I think make up, ultimately make up an icon, are certainly what I consider my, any icon that I consider myself to be. These five qualities were instrumental in helping me achieve that, and so the first was integrity, and I talked about that. You can go back and listen to that episode. I think it’s really interesting and thought provoking on integrity and character. And today I want to talk about commitment, and for me commitment comes before belief or confidence. So you, as an entrepreneur, you have to be committed, or anything, actually anything in life athlete, physician, teacher, anything to be the best, you have to be committed. And so you have to have commitment to really just get started. And you and I both know it’s a lot easier to say you’ll do something than it is to commit to actually doing something, because when you say it, without commitment you kind of always leave yourself a way out, a safety valve, for example.
And I learned about commitment from my partner, butch. Butch Weiss and I met when I was only 26 years old, and when I met butch, I have, I have to admit that I was, I think, a hard worker, but I really wasn’t committed to much. We met shortly after I married my wife, jamie. So I will say that I think I was committed to that at that time. I’m certainly committed to it now, and have been for 33 years, but I wasn’t committed to much else.
And butch was different. He was 42, so 16 years older than I was at the time, and he was like super committed, super committed to his family, super committed to being a farmer, which is you know how he grew up. His parents were farmers and he loved farming, ultimately lost the farm, but he was really committed to farming. And then every single thing that he did after being a mechanic, being a fabricator, being a driver, being the most talented engineer there was that I had ever met, who never took a class in engineering, but he just knew how to do everything. He was committed, committed to his work, committed to his family, committed to being the very best that he could be, and he was also a very powerful presence. He was built strong, like super strong. Never, you know, went to the gym or anything. He got all the strength from doing the work that he loved to do. So he was this big presence, but he was also so kind like, so powerfully kind, that it kind of you know, it made me think that there’s this power and commitment, but there’s also power and the kindness that can be behind a committed person as well, and I’ll bring that point back near the end of this.
So Butch was also a really salt of the earth person and he taught me that without commitment, we were really nothing together and we had nothing when we started literally nothing. We started our business just a bootstrap startup and with a lot more energy and commitment than we had of anything else. But he taught me that without commitment we were nothing. That committed people are the 5%, or maybe it’s even less than 5%, who will do what the 95% or more won’t do. That was something he talked about all the time that we were 100% responsible for everything that happened to us. So, because we were committed, there was no like blaming this person, blaming that person, blaming the government, blaming this? We just if things happen, and we just had to take whatever happened and make the most of the lesson we learned from it, good or bad, and just keep moving forward, because we were 100% responsible for what happened to us.
And, most of all, he taught me what it meant to be hard to kill. Hard to kill, and what do I mean by that? So being hard to kill means you cannot be easily knocked off course or defeated. That’s number one you cannot be easily knocked off course or defeated. Number two being committed means that when you lose a battle and you are going to lose battles kind of reminds me of like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the Terminator. Right, he would lose a battle and he would, you know either, he would basically dust himself off, come back and like, yeah, I’ll be back, kind of thing. That’s what committed people do, because even if you lose the battle, there is still a war that you need to win, which is whatever your goal is. I’m going to call that a war for now. It may not be the most appropriate analogy, but I think it works.
You make hay while the sun shines. The whole time the sun is shining. So you and I have probably all heard the thing like you can work 12 hours a day. Either work the first 12 or the last 12 if you want to be successful. And butch certainly subscribed to that belief system Going back to being a farmer. It was all about the weather, it was all about the sun, which always called the sun the haymaker, and I’d never heard that before. For the first time he said it, but but he was really a guy that you know. When the sun was out you had to be working and your commitment is, has got to be, infectious. It’s infectious and it spreads and your commitment becomes the foundation for others, that other people that you are around becomes the foundation for the belief and confidence they need. So you see them with the commitment and then they grow into the belief and confidence that makes them hard to kill as well. And I said I’d come back to this, this hard to kill thing again. I’m reading, I’m not reading, I’m listening to Walter Isaacson’s latest book on Elon Musk, and it’s a 20 hour listen and I’m almost through it. So that’s a commitment, by the way, to that book.
But one of the things that I’ve taken away from this is that Butch and Elon Musk totally different people, totally different generation, totally different skill set, totally different mindset, totally different missions, moonshots but they are very, very similar people. If you do read the book or you’re familiar with Musk, musk is, in addition to being the world’s richest person, he is a hard-to-kill dude. I mean he has been through if you go back through his childhood the book goes through his childhood through all the businesses and all the relationships that he’s been involved in and nothing’s come easy for him and nothing comes easy for the people that are around him either. And I think that’s where Butch and Elon get a little, are a little different. They are both very hard to kill but they approach being committed in a very different way, especially when it comes to the people that they have around them. But they are, I think, great examples of two people in my life not that Elon Musk is in my life, but two people that I’m aware of in my life who I think have this committed, hard-to-kill shell to them or soul to them. That is just inspiring to me and Butch has really from the time that I was 26,. He put that inside of me and I believe that I am also committed and very hard to kill, and I think that makes me special, and I think that probably makes you special as well.
So I’ll end this by just saying be committed to whatever it is that you want to do, or whatever it is. Whatever things you want to do, it doesn’t have to be just one thing, but if you’re committed to it, you will always be hard to kill, which means you will keep showing up, you will keep at it, you will work while the sun is shining, you won’t easily be knocked off coarse or deflated, and when you lose a battle, you’ll come back and see to it that you win the war. So be hard to kill. Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you got some value from this. If you did, please subscribe or follow the podcast, or reach out to me and leave me a note. Tell me what you like, tell me what you don’t like. Whatever the case, as you go through the rest of your day, in addition to being hard to kill, please maximize the greatness inside of you and own your future. Make your future your property, something that you are very proud to own. Until next time.
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