Use the Crap to Keep Your Fire Burning

What Drives YouI learned a lesson from Survivorman that he probably never intended to teach.

Not to be confused with that other guy, Les Stroud is dropped off alone, in the middle of nowhere, and has to survive on his own for 7 days. Plus he’s funny. He even carries his own camera equipment.

I’m addicted to the show. The science, nature, and survival stuff is fascinating. Especially for a guy like me, who considers roughing it drinking non-organic coffee on the deck, while watching birds or reading. Well, there is the occasional hike.

So what is the lesson I learned, and what does this have to do with success and following your passion? I’m glad you asked…

Crap As a Useful Tool

One of the elements that’s most important to survival in the wild is fire. Along with finding water, setting up shelter, and catching or gathering food, much of the show involves keeping a fire going.

In one episode, Les uses some dry dung to create a slow burning ember to keep his fire burning low through the day. Having that crap to burn, ensured that one of the key elements of survival was available.

I had a lot of crap tossed at me this week. Trying to deal with it as it came in, it kept deterring me from my most important tasks.

It was so damn frustrating to have to handle the crap, while time ticked away. Time that I could have spent working on important projects.

All the while, the drive and desire to be working on my big project grew.

I joked that burning through all this crap just made my desire to work on my main project stronger. It kept that fire burning. Once all the crap was handled, that fire was so strong, I cranked through 3 days worth of work in just one.

Much of Success Is About Learning How to Deal

It is inevitable that life will sling some crap your way. Nothing strengthens your drive like being kept from working on your goals.

Success is about how you deal with what life throws you. It’s about perspective. It’s also about what drives you.

As you spend time dealing with the crap, keep in mind your main goals. The crap that you’re dealing with may just fuel the fire that drives your success.


  1. Damn T,

    You reached inside my life this past 2 months and captured it perfectly. Sometimes the crap flies up and hits you in the eyes and you can’t see your goals. Articles like this help wipe off the obstacles.

    Rock on.

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  3. This takes “When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade” to a whole new level!

    Learning to “just deal” is becoming more and more important in my life, so this has good application to me, even if it is a pile of crap.

  4. Jesse said it right, learning to just deal is essential to success. Not only putting up with the crap you get, but turning around to something that benefits you, is a great way to find success.

  5. I love Survivorman too! The other good is good entertainment, but not true survival.

    The crap in life usually prepares us for our dreams. Without trials and tribulation, we wouldn’t be ready to handle the big stuff. Although we usually think we can skip developing our character and determination on the way to success.

    Nice post.

  6. Today has been a really crap day 🙂 I’ve been in a foul mood all afternoon and then I read this post. I never would have thought of an upside for having to deal with all that ‘general crap’ that gets in the way but you’ve made me feel a bit better, and now it’s 5.30 and I get to go home and enjoy my weekend 🙂

    Thanks Tony!

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