Ballz of Steel

How Far Are You Willing to Go?

Written by Igor K

Would you kill someone to reach your goal? Would you accept radical personal sacrifice or do you find those movie scenes of a guy who’s chopping off his hand to get out of the potentially deadly situation, simply impossible? Are there any limits to what you can achieve? If so, what are they?

How far are you willing to go to succeed in something?

By using an unbelievable situation in which Aron Ralston found himself back in 2003, we will prove beyond any reasonable.

No doubt that there are no limits except those we impose on ourselves. All it takes is a powerful enough motivator to push you beyond the scope of accepted reality. It all basically comes down to a simple ultimate question:

Would you or would you not chop off your hand with the pocketknife to get out of the deadly situation?

What kind of situation demands such a radical response?

Well, the one Aron Ralston, a passionate canyoneer, experienced 13 years ago.

Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock, Inc.

In April 2003, an experienced canyoneer, Aron Ralston, ended up trapped by a boulder in an isolated slot canyon in Blue John Canyon, southeastern Utah. His right fist got stuck between the rock wall of the crevasse he fell into and the large piece of rock that broke loose after he stepped on it in an attempt to cross the large gap.

Ralston’s ordeal lasted for exactly 127 hours. That’s the time he spent stuck in the darkness of the crevasse in excruciating pain. We know that because Ralston made a video with his camcorder.

As time went by, Aron drank the last drop of the extremely limited water supplies he carried with him. A scorching Sun during the daytime and cold, desert nights, didn’t make his life any better. Yelling for help brought only the scavengers who smelled the blood. Aron was becoming increasingly desperate with each passing minute.

What would you do in his situation?

No help. You are firmly stuck in some hellhole in the middle of the desert. No water. No food.

Would you take out your pocketknife and chop off the part of your right hand to free yourself?

Aron Ralston did exactly that.

First, he tried to chop off the pieces of rock in an effort to free his hand. However, that action only made the boulder to slide down and press his hand even harder. The entire process, that took hours, also damaged the blade on his pocketknife.

There was only one remaining possibility. To cut off the right fist.

The cutting itself is painful enough, but breaking two bones in lower arm is what knocks you out unconscious. Yet, against all odds, Aron Ralston managed to snap both bones and cut enough of the muscles to successfully separate his right fist from the rest of his body and free himself.

That’s how far a human being can go in order to save own life. You can see it in a 2010 movie “127 Hours” with James Franco as Aron Ralston. Perhaps one of the Franco’s best performances so far.

How does Ralston’s story apply to you?

It represents the ultimate benchmark of how far you can push your brain and your body to achieve something – the benchmark that is far beyond the commonly accepted level of comfort.

And that’s exactly the single most important segment of your life that you need to tackle – the so called “comfort zone.”

Rolston story is here to show you that what you think is possible is at the much lower level of what is ultimately achievable.

For instance, in your opinion, is this what you have right now, the top of your personal capabilities or is there a room for further improvement?

Most likely, there is a room for progress, only you are not doing anything to push the bar higher.

In other words, there is no powerful motivator that would push you out of your zone of comfort.

What is the single most efficient motivator?

It can be something as simple as detaching from the employee mentality and embracing the uncertainty of entrepreneurship. In other words, letting go of the illusion of security through a paycheck.

The moment you become aware that no paycheck is coming your way any time soon, or ever again, you start thinking differently. Comfort zone suddenly disappears. There are no more limits. The world around you becomes what it truly is: one dynamic and highly relative environment where there’s only one certain and absolute outcome.

However, there’s another side of that medal.

Some people simply can’t handle the overwhelming sensation provided by that sudden freedom and the fact that you are in liberty to do whatever the hell you want and still do better than with the average hourly wage.

It’s the guy who will most certainly die in that crevasse. He will “wait it out” even if it means certain death. It’s those guys who are always against taking some action. Always talking about the risks. Always staying put and even persuading others to stick with them.

And then, there is Ralston and alike who will chop off own hands to survive. Guys who make no compromises when it comes to their freedom. Dudes who take charge, no matter how unfavorable situation might seem.

Subsequently, those guys, guys like Ralston, are at the top of the food chain. They are pushing forward, seizing one opportunity after another, no matter the cost.

What makes Ralstons so determined and persistent?

One simple reality: awareness of the relativity of existence.

It starts with realization of the odds of just being conceived.

What were the odds that just 1 out of 2,000,000 little guys hits the right spot in the right moment for you to come to life?

How many millions of years of evolution have to pass before this complex method of creation come into existence?

How many species disappeared from the surface of this planet for our species to take baby steps 4 and a half million years ago?

And, let’s not forget how that miraculous event took place within just 2% of the surface of the microscopic dot inside the vast and largely dead and empty galaxy!

Yet, against all odds, here you are, looking at the billions of stars and billions of dead worlds above your head every night.

Now comes that ultimate, mind-blowing fact of our existence.

On average, Earth will make just 75 turns around the Sun before you leave the surface of this planet — this microscopic blue-green dot in a vastness of space — one way or another.


Ralstons are very aware of both realities. In their minds, everything is better than staying still and being dead. Life in constant fear and worrying about what tomorrow brings is just not their thing. Because, in any given moment, your life may end and everything you’ve done throughout your conscious life will be condensed in just a few words on your tombstone – if you are lucky.

It sounds morbid, but it is the fact nevertheless.

Yet, only a fraction of the population perceives the reality of our existence like that. Most are living their lives in a constant fear, waiting for something. They are afraid to do what they were constantly doing as children – they are afraid of climbing up the simple tree!

And before they realize, the Grim Reaper comes to pay them a visit. They have waited for so long, hiding behind the walls of their comfort zones, that they forgot to live!

The question is:


Because they were indoctrinated to be afraid!

Commonly accepted matrix is telling them that even a single step outside the safety of the herd can end up badly. So the moment they reach the invisible outside border, they are turning around, forcing their way back to the center of the large herd.

That’s how you force the herd into formation. You make them see what happens when they are wandering around. You let them smell the blood of the ignorant victim. After a while, you don’t even need the fence.

A long time ago, someone realized this fact of human behavior. The event known as the birth of the original tyrant.


Throughout the past, humankind had different systems where the group of few managed to dominate millions just because they were willing to take one step further.

No matter how negative, deviant and immoral that might sound now, it did create our current society – the society of frightened followers, where no one is willing to go far!

The method of indoctrination?

You’ll either be an obeying and hard worker, or you’ll starve to death. You’ll either stick to the herd and graze that little grass you have, or you are risking ending up on a dry and barren land where there’s no food.

Throughout your childhood, adults were pretty creative in describing the dangers of that barren land outside the circle of safety. Bible brought the entire dogma to a whole new level by carefully describing the eternal fire burning under our feet and the risk of ending in that hellhole if you don’t obey. But, if you are an obedient and good little sheep, you’ll be rewarded with the afterlife on heaven.

Cool stuff, right? Just make sure that kid buys into that crap and you’ll have another working mule that doesn’t ask too many questions. Because, as a ruler, you really don’t want someone to challenge your authority. It’s best to strike fear into the masses and the masses will then take care of those few restless souls. In fact, they will even execute the punishment.

With all that preaching about right and wrong, heaven and hell, life and death, people actually forget how ridiculously short life they are living. Add that famous false belief about some afterlife as the way to cope with the fact of soon-to-come death, and you have millions of men and women who will blow your dick if you just allow them to:


  1. Bust their backs for you and,
  2. Put 1/3 of their lives on your sole disposal to do whatever the hell you want with it.

Living on the edges of those masses of blind followers, there are people like Ralston. People who didn’t buy into that bullshit. People determined to spend their lives challenging the status quo with every chance they get. People willing to go where no man has gone before.

In their minds, things are simple:

What’s the worst — and the only absolute — outcome?

You cease to exist.

Everything else in between presents the most favorable situation.

For instance, what if you suddenly decide to quit your dull job and start on your own?

Married men with grown up children are having real difficulties coping with this choice. After spending a long time as responsible adults, they are starting to feel lost. Life becomes meaningless. They feel how they need some new challenge. This right here simply cannot be it.

And that choice is rather simple:

To stick with what you have right now and die, like everyone expects; or to try achieving more and die, which might piss few people?

As you can see, in both scenarios, only one thing is certain. Whatever you choose, the outcome is exactly the same.

Yet, against all logic, only a few realize the insanity of blind obedience to the rules of the matrix.

Because, in that matrix, the decision to push forward is considered as reckless, extremely risky and irrational move. People are having a hard time understanding why would you quit your stable job and head into the unknown.

Pressure from your closest social circle, led by your own wife, is almost unbearable. Naturally, you are having second thoughts about the entire idea.

You shouldn’t have.

You owe it to yourself. You owe it to the Universe because you are not built to be just another grazer that seeks safety in the center of the herd. Our species has been forged through millions of years of evolution and harsh life to reach these heights. And you are the prime member of that same advanced species that is now taking final steps to conquer another planet.

You think we would be able to do that without people like Ralston? Or perhaps, you are worried not to disappoint or fail someone, let’s say your wife?

You have to ask yourself: is it even possible to fail the wife?

Only by staying in the middle of the herd, even though she’s seemingly demanding that from you! That’s just another paradox of the marital life, that’s’ all. She’s in a constant conflict of interests, expecting and asking for more while not allowing any meaningful action that goes in that direction.

Her definition of right and wrong doesn’t necessarily have to be yours. She’s a nester. You are the hunter. She stays put. You move. That’s the determining difference between men and women.

If she is moving and you are staying still, she’ll eventually grow tired of it and find a man who moves so she can sit tight within the walls of her safety zone. Because, after all, every wife on this planet needs to believe that her husband can deal with anything.

If you are both staying still, shit will hit the fan sooner than you think because the world has changed. Old doctrines, originating from the times of the Silent generation and even Babyboomers, don’t work anymore.

So, when you think about it, the real question is:

Can you fail yourself?

Yes. By not living the life. By not exploiting this highly unlikely chance of being able to see, hear, feel and think. That’s how you can fail yourself. By blindly following the herd and someone’s lead while not taking any control over your life. By believing that crap about how hazardous it is to step outside the circle of the herd and do what the owner of the herd is doing.

Because, the fact remains. While the masses are eating shit, few are eating cakes. And those who are eating cakes are never on the same pasture where the herd is grazing.

How do you rationalize that fact?

In our experience, those who are willing to go far eventually find the much richer graze that hasn’t been trampled by millions of hooves.

So ask yourself this:

Am I willing to step away from the herd and how far am I willing to go to find that rich pasture?

In your opinion, is there any real risk and danger on that path? If there is, is it worth the risk? What do you think?


About the author

Igor K

Former detective, now entrepreneur with the passion for applied investigative journalism, profiling, personal development and business analyses.