I have come to conclude that people are divided in two categories: the honey badgers and those that are not.
Honey Badgers don’t care about any detractor to their goals and dreams.
Most people that I ask if they know what a honey badger is have never heard of them. The only ones that do are sports fans that know about the football player Tyran Mathiew. He calls himself “the honey badger” because of his ability to overcome challenging situations.
I admit that I did not know that honey badgers existed, let alone how badass they were. It was my best friend who told me about their existence.
Three months ago, I sustained a devastating emotional blow. It felt like a brutal punch to my stomach, throwing me to the ground in significant pain. I didn’t think I would be able to recuperate from such misfortune.
I told my best friend that I was giving up on my goal. Despite the adversity I have survived throughout my life, I was certain that I could not recover from this one. He refused to accept my contention.
My friend told me I had to get up, dust the dirt on my clothes and continue to struggle. He reminded me of my mantra: never, ever give up.
“I have no strength left to do that”, I sighed in tears.
It was then that he said: you are a honey badger. Honey badgers don’t give up. They face dangerous situations, fight back and win.
I had no clue what he was talking about. He urged me to see the renowned 87 Million-views video about the honey badger. (viewer discretion is advised)
Hilarious narrator aside, the interesting discovery I made when showing this video to people was their contrasting take on it.
The ones that I know that are real-life honey badgers are not grossed out when seeing it eat larvae or snakes. More often than not, the leaders, bosses, entrepreneurs and those who choose to follow their passion can see beyond the honey badger’s disgusting choice of meals. What they see is a relatively small animal that stops at nothing when going after his prey. They see how he “doesn’t give a s*#~t”. They see what ‘badass’ means.
Impressed with its tenacity, audacity and ability to escape unscathed of perilous situations, this first group identifies with the honey badger. Honey badgers’ courage, intelligence and dexterity allows them to confront and escape a lion’s pack of five.
When it comes to the honey badger, the adjective fearless becomes a verb. Honey badgers are unfazed in treacherous situations, as when they completely ignore a porcupine trying to attack them. They are not fazed at all when the porcupine approaches to overpower them with their strong needles.
The people that can see past the honey badger’s choice of food admire its character.
People in the opposite side of the spectrum focus on the disgusting fare it dines upon. They cannot see beyond the “eeeew!” factor when it eats. It does not occur to them to admire the honey badger’s undaunted determination to fight for what it wants.
Whenever I am in a situation of distress, I watch the honey badger video. It makes me laugh and motivates me to keep going. My. favorite part is when gets up and continues on with his agenda after been poisoned by a snake.
Whether it is in my genes or environment growing up, I really didn’t have a choice but to grow up to become a honey badger.
My father was the ultimate honey badger. Born on 1929 to a family with scant financial resources in the remote town of Villalba, he was born with a congenital condition that did not allow him to walk normally. After two surgeries at the age of 12, he was able to walk with crutches.
At a time when no one had remotely conceived of civil rights, American with Disabilities Act or reasonable accommodations, my father graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and continued on to obtain a Master’s in Business Administration from Wharton Business School.
He would stay for 8–9 hours studying in the library while starving because he could not afford to waste time going up and down the stairs.
Universities like U Penn have pathways that are built of uneven bricks. In winter, they are particularly hazardous as ice forms in the wide and uneven crevices between the centuries-old bricks. Some parts of those trails would get as slippery as a skating rink.
Think of the times people fall during winter because of frozen sidewalks. Now imagine how many times a person fell while walking on crutches each freezing season.
My father returned to Puerto Rico and became a professor at the University of Puerto Rico. He also studied law and earned the medal for the highest grade-point average of his graduating class at the University of Puerto Rico Law School.
He went on to have a successful career, a wonderful wife and three daughters.
Throughout his life, he partied hard and even drove a car. Later in life, when he had to use a wheelchair, he would carry around a wood plank to create his own ramps where there were none.
Nothing stopped him from doing what he set out to do.
He embodied the following precepts that I learned from him by doing, not reading about them:
Never, ever give up. He never did.
There’s no excuse.He didn’t have to make them up because had he wanted, he would have had plenty of them. Yet he never did.
There’s always a way.The physical limitations he encountered because of his condition motivated him to be more creative in order to achieve his goals.
I was fortunate to have such a father as an example. He was a tough act to follow. I have no excuse to never give up because there’s always a way to accomplish what one sets out to undertake.