#1779 Scars and Stripes

Tim Kennedy Says: They Go Together

Tim Kennedy is a FASCINATING, inspiring human being.

I recently read his great autobiography, Scars and Stripes: An Unapologetically American Story of Fighting the Taliban, UFC Warriors, and Myself.

(Thanks for the rec, MB/Dan!)

As per the back cover of the book: “Tim Kennedy has a problem; he feels alive only right before he’s about to die. Kennedy, a Green Beret, decorated Army sniper, and UFC headliner, has tackled a bull with his bare hands, jumped out of airplanes, dived to the depths of the ocean, and traveled the world hunting poachers, human traffickers, and the Taliban.”


“He’s also the same man who got kicked out of the police department, fire department, and as an EMT, before getting two women pregnant four days apart, and finally, been beaten up by his Special Forces colleagues for, quite simply, ‘being a selfish *sshole.”

Imagine blending David Goggins and Jocko Willink and Nims Purja together then throwing them into a UFC ring and reading about their lives with a BRUTALLY honest magnifying glass on ALL the good, the bad and the ugly.

It’s hard to put into words how compelling the book is but it’s REALLY good. Laugh-out-loud funny. Humbling. Inspiring. If you (or a loved one) enjoy great military and/or sports biographies, I think you’ll love it as much as I did.

We’ll take a quick look at some of my favorite Big Ideas in a few +1s.

For Today, let’s chat about WHY the book is called “Scars and Stripes.”

Tim tells us: “In the Army, when you graduate from being a soldier to a noncommissioned officer, you earn the title of ‘Sergeant.’ In that moment, you earn your stripes, the upward-facing rockers that affix to your uniform. Those stripes are the symbol that shows you are a leader—that you assume responsibility for yourself and those around you.”

He continues by saying: “It took me a lot to get there. It’s been a hard road. And every step of the way—every additional rank, every additional accomplishment, every great success—has required more of me. I have had to sacrifice more, suffer more, and yes, fail more.”

And: “Failure isn’t final. It’s necessary. It’s the fuel that allows you to advance, to succeed. To earn those stripes, you need to earn those scars first.”

Those are the final words of the book.

Scars and stripes.

👆 The two go together.

More precisely, as Tim says: “To earn those stripes, you need to earn those scars first.”

Which, for the record, is why Paulo Coelho says: “I don’t regret the painful times; I bare my scars as if they were medals.”

That’s Today’s +1.

Got any SCARS?

(Of course you do. You’re human.)

Can you see how those scars led to some of the leadership “stripes” you’re most proud of?

Make the connection as you use your CURRENT challenges to forge your next level of strength.

It’s time to move from Theory to Practice to Mastery and activate our Heroic potential together...


P.S. Technically, THESE are the final words of the book—from the “Afterword” Tim wrote a year after the book was released: “I ended this book telling you that failure isn’t final. It isn’t. But the converse of that is also true. Success isn’t permanent. They are a yin and yang that complement each other. Failure breaks you down, and if you’re strong enough and resilient enough to stand up, success builds you back up.

So if you’re sitting around at a low point right now, and maybe looking around and thinking other people are farther along on their journey, or that maybe things haven’t gone your way, that’s okay. This moment—the one you’re living right now, the one that hurts, the one that is embarrassing—is the fuel that will lead you to your next great achievement.

But only if you let it. No, that’s wrong actually. Only if you take that fuel and make it happen.”

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