Awakening The Sleeping Giant

“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Isoroku Yamamoto… maybe…

The quote above is one that many people have seen or heard over the years. It’s attributed to the Japanese admiral whose name I’ve shown above. It’s also probably apocryphal; no one can prove that he said it, and he was someone who was widely quoted in his day.

It’s a great quote, but it’s unverifiable. The thing is, just because it might not be a true quote doesn’t mean it wasn’t an accurate quote. After all, he did say this at least a year before Pearl Harbor:

“If we are ordered to do it then I can guarantee to put up a tough fight for the first six months, but I have absolutely no confidence as to what would happen if it went on for two or three years.”

It was quite the prescient thought from someone who actually knew what the United States and its allies might be capable of, and he warned against doing some of the things that politicians for generations have wanted those who do the actual fighting try to tell them might not be the best course of action. No one is going to accuse him of being Kreskin, but he offered this one last blast just 3 months before the Pearl Harbor attack:

“Britain and America may have underestimated Japan somewhat, but from their point of view it’s like having one’s hand bitten rather badly by a dog one was feeding. It seems that America in particular is determined before long to embark on full-scale operations against Japan. The mindless rejoicing at home is really deplorable; it makes me fear that the first blow at Tokyo will make them wilt on the spot.”

Interesting isn’t it? Let’s change direction for a quick minute.

Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship in 7 games after trailing in the series 3 games to 1 against an opponent that almost all pundits thought was a much more superior team. It was the first time in NBA history that a team came back to win the championship after being down 3-1.

The Golden State Warriors won 73 games this year, more than any other NBA team in history, then worked some of their own magic to get into the finals by coming back from a 3-1 deficit. They had the league MVP on the team, Steph Curry, and all looks like it would easily be back-to-back championships for them.

And then…

Someone… okay, almost everyone, started to say some things about Lebron James, the team captain, the guy who was the first player to make 6 straight NBA finals since 4 players on the Boston Celtics teams of the 60’s that won 9 of 11 championships, the guy who had a finals record of 2-4, like he didn’t have heart, that he was surely now the former greatest player in the league and that players like him couldn’t succeed in today’s game. There were lots of other things said about him also, as well as his teammates, that were somewhat insulting if you ask me.

I’m not a Cleveland fan, but I am a Lebron fan. When I read a lot of the articles that were being written by people who “know basketball”, I had a much different thought. My thought: y’all have just awakened a sleeping giant… y’all and Draymond Green, who cuffed LeBron in the “gentles” in game four for a perceived slight…

They all had. LeBron came back to score 41, 41 and 27, with double digit rebounds and assists in all 3 games and at least 3 blocks in each of those games and basically carried the team on his back (though he did have some scoring help from Kyrie Irving) to an improbable championship. He was faster, stronger, bigger and had more determination than anyone else on the floor in those last 3 games. Folk who were talking trash before those last 3 games had to own up to the truth; this is the best basketball player in the world right now.

Don’t awake sleeping giants.


That is… unless you’re the sleeping giant. Can I tell you something? You’re a sleeping giant.

How do I know? Because I’m a sleeping giant. I really am.

A bit of honesty here, if I may.

I look at my life as a few big successes and a lot of coasting, some falling, and then starting the process over again. The successes always come in one of two ways. Either someone has irked me to the point where I feel the need to show them up somehow, or I’ve had a major low, to the point where it’s time to get going and, when I get going, I can be hard to stop… until I start coasting again.

Successes: multiple bowling trophies, scholarship letter, Asteriods championship (how many people remember Asteriods?), multiple times hospital director, 3 books, a standing ovation at the last wedding I performed at (wedding singer), spoke in front of over 200 people, spoke in 9 states, made over $200K two years in a row, and I’m about to celebrate my 15th year in business on Friday.

“Experiments” (I hate the term ‘failure’): almost flunked out of college my first year, dodged death about 9 times so far in my life, lost my job twice, have had 3 years when I made less than $10K, fought depression, have sleep apnea and diabetes and, as of Friday am on the border potentially heading towards glaucoma… and have made little money on all my blogs over all these years…

I’m tired! 🙂

I’m big on the concept of motivation because I tend to believe all of us can use a boost from time to time to help us awaken our giants. These days, at age 56, I may not quite be past the time when someone might irk me enough to want to find ways to crush them or show them what I believe I can do. I might get riled but frankly, angry energy doesn’t last long enough and these days it’s hard to focus on a goal when I’m angry; I guess I lost my killer instinct.

Instead I end up looking for other ways to motivate myself. One way is in writing my own motivational quotes. Another way is to find and imbue the quotes of others like this:

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

Or find motivational messages and speeches like this:

Or visit the blogs of others like this by Kelley Vargo or ask people to write guest posts for me like this or write stuff for you and myself like this.

The thing about awakening giants is that they turn out to do marvelous and spectacular things, things no one expected of them, things they might not expect of themselves but knew they were capable of. If they can do it, then we can do it.

Who’s going to come with me in awakening our sleeping giant on the first day of summer this year? 😀

8 thoughts on “Awakening The Sleeping Giant”

  1. Hi Mitch,

    When I seen the title of this blog post, I immediately thought of the famous quote you started with. I think we are all sleeping giants. We have the capability, but we need to choose to do it or not. We can be sheepeople and follow the heard. Or…do what is in our giant hearts like you have been doing for the pat 15 years.

    Sometimes we tire, but then we have to look back at all that stuff we overcame in our lives from health issues, financial issues and business. Seems like we do have 9 lives like a cat.

    I’m here with you celebrating. Keep on going my friend. You are an inspiration to me.


    1. Thanks Donna. You know, I write the motivational posts for myself as much as for others. I figure if I need to motivate myself that others might benefit from it as well. I also believe we all have greatness waiting inside us and maybe it needs a bit of coaxing. If we can do it ourselves instead of out of spite towards someone else it might even feel better. 🙂

  2. First, Mitch, I, too, am a LeBron James fan. I look at him from a grandmotherly distance and have always been impressed by how he represents himself and moves through the world. He gives credit and is a credit to those who raised him and helped him make decisions.

    As to awakening giants…I will leave that you you. You still have that in you. I know because I look at you from a motherly distance and know that you are smart and ambitious and canny (in a really good way) – which is ultimately an unbeatable combination when coupled with the love you show for yourself, your family, and others.

    Myself, I am off the hook. I am writing what I want when I want. I am forgiving myself if I only thing good thoughts and never get them written down. i am taking the day off to go see the ocean, to sit in my lovely back garden, or to hunch over a jigsaw puzzle and ignore everything else. I am flying across the country to visit children and grandchildren or staying home and sending my love instead.

    You go, big man! Just take care of yourself along the way.

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I also write whatever I want and having 5 blogs allows me to do that. Yet I’m still in the mode for the most part of writing things that I hope helps others as well as myself. I want to awaken the giant I know is hiding inside myself and see if I can help awaken the giant in others also. In today’s world I’d like to think that maybe a bunch of awakened giants can help us solve some problems that it seems those in authority positions aren’t allowed to do or are, thankfully, not allowed to do. 🙂

  3. Very well said Mitch!

    And as you mentioned, I’m quite sure, a ton of money, changed hands, after Lebron & company, stunned Golden State, (at home) no less, in the pivotal game seven!LOL!

    And I love your excellent points, about awakening the sleeping giant, with regards to it’s historical perspective.

    I’m sure those involved, would love to go back and undo that particular mess, if they could!

    And that’s quite a track record of accomplishments you have listed!

    And that’s probably,motivation enough for you, (I suspect) to cause you to want turn it on, whenever you want or truly need or wish to!LOL!

    Great post and thank’s for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Thanks Mark. You know, one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn over the years is that accomplishments don’t necessarily mean anything unless they help to bring peace & long term success to you. At this point I’ve given away all my trophies and almost all the plaques, and the only one that I know is up somewhere in the house (because I rarely pay attention to what’s on the walls outside of my office) are plaques my dad received. Now that’s pretty weird; I might need to talk to a therapist about that… if I ever decide to talk to you and if I’d been the one who put the plaque up (my wife did that also lol).

      I need to awaken that giant and keep him on his toes. I hope you come along, although you might already be there. 🙂

  4. Mitch, congratulations fo writing r a terrific post. “Sleeping giant” caught my eye because one of my son’s high school teacher said those very words to him. It’s such a positive and hopeful thing to think each of us has potential.

    1. Thanks Terri. I’d forgotten it was something that Tony Robbins did back in the 80’s while I was writing the post & doing the video but it still works. I didn’t even know you had a son; the things we learn. 🙂

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