The title of this article comes from a line of dialogue in a cheesy martial arts action movie I watched in my youth. I can’t remember the name of the film, or who starred in it, but I remember an Italian mobster villain saying it: “Don’t ask for what you can’t take.”
And for some reason it has stuck with me all these years. Probably because on a core level it is true.
But we try to pretend it isn’t.
Instead, we’d prefer to believe somewhere, somehow that someone or something is going to come save us. To come to our rescue and make everything in life okay and comfortable and easy. To give us our dream job or ideal partner or whatever it is we want most.
This is a lie. And we know it.
Real life can be messy and hard and uncomfortable, with many ups and as many—or more—downs. It is a mental, emotional, and physically exhausting rollercoaster.
And this is precisely what makes life so great.
Don’t sit back and ask for a cushy existence to be handed you on a silver platter. While nice for a little while, it would be an empty victory most likely leading to sloth and vice and, ultimately, disappointment.
If you can’t go out and take it yourself, you have no business asking for it.
Like Will Smith’s character says in The Pursuit of Happiness, “If you want something, go get it. Period.”