FFN 035: Invictus, The Captain of My Soul

Today I want to talk about the poem, Invictus, written by William Ernest Henly. If you aren’t familiar with it, I’ve got to ask, where have you been?!

This is probably a refresher for a lot of you but here goes:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Now, think about this for a minute. Does this even remotely sound like us generally as a population?

I would argue that most of society is the exact opposite – that we believe, or live life, as if someone or something else is in control. I don’t care if you call it fate or destiny or something else entirely.

The problem with believing, or at least adhering to, the notion that you don’t have control over your life is that you give away any power you have in doing something about it.

Now, inevitably, someone always says, “Ryan, somethings are beyond our control.” Yes, that is true but YOU have control over how you handle those situations and circumstances.

People get divorces. People go bankrupt. We face natural disasters. We face injury or illness. The economy takes a turn for the worse on occasion. But, I can promise you that there are those who have faced overwhelming odds and used those circumstances as an opportunity, not an excuse.

So, I want to talk with you about excuses today. Specifically, I want to address 5 excuses we’re all using or have at some point in our life and, more importantly, I want to talk with you about the mindset each and every one of us need to adapt in order to overcome these excuses.


I already mentioned this briefly but, look guys, bad stuff happens. I personally grew up without  a permanent father-figure in my life. You may have faced something far worse.

For a long time I blamed my lack of success in my life on the fact that I didn’t have anyone guiding me when I was younger. It was a nice excuse but I realized that I wasn’t ever going to achieve at high levels until I got over my past experiences.

And that’s the mindset. We all need to understand that there are expiration dates on our excuses – that at some point, we cannot continue to blame unfortunate circumstances or other people for our current station in life.

Frankly speaking, this is called being an adult.


Another common excuse we craft for not moving forward is fear. This is a hard one because it disguises itself. We aren’t usually willing to admit we’re afraid and so we come up with other reason for not getting the job done. I’m going to talk about that in a minute.

We ask ourselves what others will think, how they’ll react, and what they’ll think of us if we take bold action. And, we allow those people to dictate the course of our life simply because we’re afraid of what might happen if we fall short.

The mindest we need to adopt is to eliminate this constant desire to explain ourselves to everybody or explain away why we didn’t get the job done.

A term I’ve got very good at using in my life is, “no excuses.” Simple, yet effective. If I fall short on a project, a deadline, or a goal, I’m not interested in crafting excuses – I am interested in understanding why I fell short and learning from it moving forward.


The third excuse – and I’m not sure this is much of an excuse as it is an attitude – is pride. Heaven forbid a man tell someone else he doesn’t have it all figured out. Heaven forbid he ask for help when he needs it.

You and I have been led to believe that, as men, we should have it all figured out and that it’s somehow it’s more noble to go at it alone.

That’s the furthest thing from the truth. We are a society, a collection of people. We operate better in communities. We operate better in packs and tribes.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of strength. Reaching out to others is what allows you to learn something new and get better in any area of life.

So, let’s all stop pretending we know everything and find people who know more about any given subject than we do. Let’s move forward collectively rather than fall behind individually.


Next, let’s talk about delusion. I’ll admit, sometimes it’s easier to plead ignorance than it is to exert any amount of effort in actually finding out.

We’ve all heard that ignorance is bliss. That may be true for the average, the mediocre, the complacent.

Simply by the fact that you’re listening to this tells me that’s not you. It tells me you want more out of life and that you’re looking for something greater.

If you don’t know, find out. Know I realize that something we don’t know what we don’t know but, if you’re not experiencing the results you want at the gym, with your marriage, in the bedroom, with your wealth, then you can pretty well assume that you’re missing something.

Learn something new guys. Constantly. Every day. Access to information and education has never been easier.

Do not sit the sidelines and say you didn’t know. Figure it out.


And, the last excuse I want to talk with you about today is comparison. You do it. I do it. We all do it.

We look around at someone who seems to have it all figured out and wonder why we aren’t experiencing the results that guy is.

He has more money. He’s better looking. He has better connections. He’s smarter.

And, on top of that, society is telling you that you have to do it a certain way – that if you do it your own way you’re unique.

Look around, look at magazines in the grocery store. All of them, whether it’s People Magazine or Guns and Ammo, are telling us how to behave, how to think, what to own, and who to be.

What’s interesting is that the things that make you unique, the things that set you apart, the things you’ve been trying to hide in the name of conformity, are the very things that will help you excel.

You aren’t me. I’m not you. I’m not going to compare myself to what you’re doing. I’m going to do it my way and let the chips fall where they may.

Yes, I might fall short but I might fall short doing it your way too. So, I might as well do it in a way that’s meaningful and significant to me.

So there you have it men, 5 excuses most of us adhere to and the mindset you need to overcome them.


If you want to learn more about the mindset that will allow you to control your own destiny – that will allow you to be the captain of your soul, I want to personally invite you to join our mastermind, The Iron Council.

This is a collection of men doing more than just talking about being a better man, they’re actually doing something about it.

We heavily focused on our Twelve-Week Battle Plan right now which is the system we’ve created and use to identify key objectives across four domains: relationships, health, wealth, and self.

More importantly, we also work together in identifying tactics that will allow you to actually accomplish your objectives – no hoping, no wishing, no dreaming. Just doing!

And of course you’ll have the accountability you need to stay the course. If you want to learn more, you can go to We’d be honored to have you.

In the meantime, remember Invictus. You are the master of your fate. You are the captain of your soul.

I’ll look forward to talking with you next week but, until then, take action and live manfully!

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