We each have our own talents. Natural inclinations that we were gifted with from the infinite. Or crafts we honed through years of focused repetition and spirited experimentation. As I’ve said, there’s nothing that can’t be mastered with sufficient enthusiasm and practice. Not simply paying dues, but loving to do so. To lust after progress while worshipping process. You can’t teach that shit. That pilot light in your soul must be set ablaze and from that point forward it must be tended to by the chef himself. The pan will only get as hot as the gas you’re willing to give it. The dish will only be as delicious as the time you’re willing to dedicate to its perfection.

In the neighborhood Italian barbershop, I remember Dean Martin singing through the transistor radio speakers, “Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be.” But I’ve gotta call bullshit on old Dino Crocetti, no matter how smooth a motherfucker he was. Instead, what I’ve found to be true, is quite the opposite. A dude like me cannot just shrug his shoulders, throw his hands in the air and leave his fortune to the stars. I could never live with that laissez faire approach to life. The stakes are too fucking high.

Instead, what always worked for me, was to apply constant pressure. To wear down the obstructions of class or situation in my way over time. Watching mountains melt to mere pitching mounds underneath the steady weight of my grind. As I see it, the determined man does not simply accept the way things are, but rather envisions the way things must be, and dedicates his days to changing his reality. This relentless application of pressure, this dogged pursuit of destiny, this enthusiasm to do work and pay dues, it is simply a matter of a man exercising his will.

Almost to the point of religious zealotry, I fundamentally believe that under the unyielding pressure of a determined man, the resistance of even the greatest obstacles eventually gives way. I have adhered to that mode of thinking since I was a kid. It wasn’t enough merely to want something. It wasn’t enough to simply do the necessary work. With all of your being—your heart, your mind, your body, your soul working in unison, you must exercise your will.

You hear the phrase “will power” thrown around casually. But when I speak of “will” I’m talking about real shit of more consequence than just cookies and cupcakes. I speak of a person’s purpose in this realm. There are few powers in this world as potent as pure intent. And few forces as unstoppable as a man who simply refuses to relent. If you are sincere in your aspirations, you don’t need anyone’s permission to pursue your own inner greatness or your own ideal life. Folks in your extended circles, your current circumstances, life in general–even your own stray thoughts, will attempt daily to dissuade and discourage you. But you must be bigger, and your thoughts stronger, than those adverse influences and negative impulses that seek to sabotage.

You must not be subject to the next man’s whim or the frivolous fancies of fate. Instead, you must dedicate all that you are, to will yourself into that space that only you can see in your mind’s eye. We must make ourselves inevitable through focus, effort and faith. Our destiny not being a matter of if, but when. As I have come to believe, whatever will be, I shall will it to be so. And that is real will power.