What matters most is how you walk through the fire*

Before we start our little adventure into the human condition, I would like you to do something for me. I want you to find some music, something that makes you feel alive, makes your heart sing and your eyes well up. I want you to put on those headphones, (remember loud noises attracts the horrors of the undead) I want you to sit back and completely immerse yourself in it. Visualise a time when you felt alive, when you felt a passion for life that almost felt like it would make you break. Just one song, that’s all I ask. Go on, I’ll wait for you, no rush now.

Ok, you’re back. Of course some of you never left.

“Oh, I’ll do it later”
“well I’m sorry, I just don’t see the point”

Why didn’t you do it? You had the time.

Oh well, your loss.

Life is an interesting experience, I’m sure you will agree. The disappointing thing, in my eyes, is that most people don’t live their lives. Their lives live them. They get up, grumble that it’s so early, try and wake themselves up, go to a job they hate, and then grumble on the way home about the traffic that’s stopping them from retreating to their box filled with its trinkets and electronic distractions.

Very few people live their passion.  This is why there is so much fiction being written.  People need to be able to escape what they think is the drudgery of life, not realising that there are billions on the planet who would give anything to just experience that life.

This is not living. It is barely even existence. They leave school, get a job, get married have kids, grow a bit wider in the middle, take up a hobby, potter about, watch a lot of TV and wake up one morning feeling strange. Then they look at themselves in the mirror and, with shocked silence realise they don’t recognise the person gazing back at them. They did what they were supposed to do, what they were told to do, and life just passed them by and visited some other more deserving fellows.

And these are the people most of us authors use in our books.  because these are the souls that are hot the most when the horrors descend.


So much time lost. So much time wasted.


Life tries to give you a little nudge of course. It is only fair that life gives you a chance, an opportunity to WAKE UP. There you are plodding along, a few dollars in your pocket, got your stuff together and then, wham, something completely unexpected hits you right where it hurts, knocking you flat on your face.

It happens to everyone, and when it happens it is very easy to believe that you have experienced a GAME OVER situation. Some people check out. Some people become broken. Some people stand up dust themselves off and shout


If you are alive, it’s never game over. If you are breathing, and you mind still works, you always have choices. As Napoleon Hill once said, “Opportunity comes wrapped in impossible situations

Pick yourself up, slap yourself a few times and walk headlong into the fire.

There is a very important lesson you need to realise here. Life does not just happen to you. You have control. You have control by how you react to Life’s little games. The decisions you make, and the way you make them will determine the quality of your life. It’s all up to you, no matter what your circumstances, no matter what people tell you. Because as long as you are here there is always another way.  If you look at the work of say George RR martin, you see that most of the character deaths are not random acts.  The characters die because of the choices they made.  Ned Stark chose honour and duty over Wisdom and paid the ultimate price.

You live in the greatest time the world has ever known. You have information, opportunity and experiences available to you that your ancestors couldn’t even imagine. The guy in a minimum wage job, living in a one bedroom apartment in the crappy part of town has a life infinitely more superior than Pharaohs and Kings from the past. Don’t believe me?

– Electricity
– Safe, running water
– Wireless internet, giving him access to a library not even the gods had imagined
– Public transportation
– The simple telephone
– Food from every continent packaged and available for his convenience
– Free health care
– A life free of Cholera, Diphtheria, the Plague, Smallpox, and Tetanus
– Movies available that would be unimaginable even 50 years ago
– The ability to travel to every part of the globe

Most of you don’t have problems. You have challenges. The challenges are put there to see what you are made of, to see if you have what it takes to walk through the fire. They are there to teach you, to humble you, and to enlighten you. And sometimes they are there to make you the example, the story of hope or hopelessness.  Think of all the great stories of Greek mythology, and the trials that the heros had to get through.  Every trial made the hero stronger…ready for the next un-surmountable task.

Your challenges are there for you.

You think the contents of your bank account, or the baubles in your home are important? You think you are successful because you drive a nice car and can travel business class…….. you think this because you have forgotten that success is an illusion. It is an irrelevance, a phantom. If you were given 6 months to live tomorrow, all your material goods would mean NOTHING.  If Yellowstone blew up tomorrow, most of that would be worthless.

The most important thing in life is HOW YOU LIVE, every minute of every day. It is your experience, you soul and your character that matters. That is what sets you apart from another human being. It is WHO YOU ARE deep inside that matters, and what matters even more is who you will BECOME. Not that suit you wear, or the gold shiny things hanging from your anatomy.

So who are you? And who do you want to be?

And now the most important question of all.

Are you Happy?

It’s a simple question. Are you happy? Is your heart almost stopped by the beauty and the majesty of life. Is your breath taken by the very passion that life can allow you? I’m talking about the passion of being alive that you can feel any time you damn well please. Or are you too worried about the credit card bill?

Yes our society is troubled. Yes we are being assaulted on all sides by regulation, laws and pointless political ideas. Our police are becoming corporate revenue collectors and our entertainment is 2 generations away from the Running Man. But this is all done by the people who have forgotten who they are, the people who are dead inside.

But have you ever asked yourself why? Why is the greatest society the world has ever seen starting to feed off itself?


We have forgotten that life has to be grabbed by the throat and shaken until it gives us what we want. Instead most of us just bend over and grab our ankles. We have to fight for our wants, or we will simply be left with our needs…if we are lucky. Get off your backside. Decide what you want. Decide, or the decision will be made for you.

Now some of you will already know all this, because you are doing it. You are living it, breathing it, tasting it. Life is your passion.

Others among you are almost dead inside…so much so you might as well be roaming the streets trying to gnaw on peoples brains. You world is a collection of reactions and opinions to the thoughts and actions of others. Let that spark grow, that dream, that light that shines within you.

Please, be all that you can be.

And some of you are in a dark place. A realm of heartache, illness, financial stress and depression. I’ve been there, we all have. Remember there are always choices. Even if you have just 6 months to live, you get the choice of how to experience those six months. There is always another way and there is always hope.

Remember that what matters most is how you walk through the fire.

That’s the way it looks from here



*Charles Bukowski

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *