This is chaos, and fire, and hell.
This is where you find it, where you find the darkness that's been lurking beneath the surface for all your life.
This is the crucible where all lies die.
For you can lie to yourself when you're sitting in front of your computer. You can lie to yourself when you're on your Xbox 360 destroying fictional aliens with a fictional gun. You can believe that you're the man, that you're the hero. And it is a happy fiction.
But out there, out in the field, you have nothing to hide behind. You have you, the club, and the truth.
One of the things that really fires me up and drives me to get this shit handled is the truth that I am nowhere near as powerful as I tell myself I am.
That for everything I've done, and for everything I'm doing, there is something about a beautiful woman that strips me down to that place we each of us know so well. That place that some call insecurity, and some call fear.
How lucky are we to have a war! To have a battleground and an arena that each of us, as men can stand inside and fight!
How blessed are we to find that place a hundred times a day - that two feet of space in front of beauty, that moment that destroys us.
That is where we each belong. In that moment, there is truth. We face it with the moral simplicity of a soldier, and we are blessed for that.
And the glory is not in the prize, although the prize is beyond compare.
The glory is in that moment where we walk unshielded into that crucible and hold inside it until it feels as if our hearts would break.
The glory is in that moment of defiance, and not defiance of injustice, and not defiance of loneliness - but in defiance of despair.
In defiance of despair we shine like the sun.
When we step up and into that crucible, into the place where all lies die we find out, perhaps for the first time, who we really, really are.
And we are shocked by that weakness.
And we are moved by it.
And we are driven by it.
And there is the glory, that one moment where you stand alone before all your fears, and all your fears rain down upon you, and you hold and throw whatever you've got against it. And whatever you've got fails.
And you break.
And you hate yourself.
And somewhere, as you fall, some part of you reaches out and grabs a hold of something...
And you stand again. And you walk back, once more into the crucible because that is where you forge a self that is stronger than steel, harder than diamond and smoother than silk.
If you want to know how strong you are, the following words will give you a taste. They were spoken by the leader of a bankrupt nation with defeated armies, a nation that had watched it's allies crumble like ashes before the greatest military power that had ever arisen on the earth.
"We shall go on to the end.
We shall fight in France.
We shall fight on the seas and oceans.
We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air.
We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be.
We shall fight on the beaches.
We shall fight on the landing grounds.
We shall fight in the fields and in the streets.
We shall fight in the hills.
We shall never surrender."
Make no mistake about it, this will tear your heart in a thousand ways. You will meet women you would die for, and women you would kill for. You will see glory that you never dreamed of, and see whole vistas of humiliation that you never knew could even exist.
And if you hold fast through all the chaos, and do not compromise who you are, no matter what the temptation to cheat in this way or that... IF YOU HOLD YOUR INTEGRITY....
Then you will walk on this earth like a juggernaut of incorruptible power.
And you will blaze like a beacon of holy light.
A beacon that fuses true goodness with true power.
Take yourself with you on this journey.
Take those parts of you that say "I will not sleep with a girl who's not 100% into me."
Take those parts of you that say "I will not stoop to stealing a woman off another man, because I do not need to stoop - and I will never need to stoop again."
Take those parts of you that say "I will never compromise on what I know is right."
Do not lose that part of you that still believes in the greatness and the goodness of man - and of yourself.
Do not cheat yourself on this. Be the man you know you are - have the principles you already have...
But place those principles... and yourself... into the crucible. Burn.
And if you have the strength within you, if you can find it somewhere inside, then you - yes, YOU - can be the light that shines in the darkness.
You can BE the proof that man does not need to compromise in order to succeed.
A man is nothing if left unforged.