Have you ever watched a dog, out for a morning walk, who’s just spotted a squirrel? The dog immediately springs forward to pursue his catch. He is restricted, not by his own instincts, but by a force he didn’t know existed; his harness, his owner’s restraint.
When our dreams become real to us, fear, doubt, and adversity often collar our ambitions. Like the dog, we want to keep after that squirrel until we catch it, but how can we break free from the restraint of mediocrity, and endure the anxieties and insecurities that come with the chase?
Bennie Fowler wrote Silver Spoon: The Imperfect Guide to Success to share stories that will help you overcome what’s holding you back. You’ll hear from Bennie and other professional athletes like Draymond Green, Julius Thomas, Darqueze Dennard, and Demarcus Ware, as well as entrepreneurs and employees, on how they rose to the occasion when adversity struck.
I recently sat down with Bennie to gain a better understanding of what inspired him to write the book, his favorite idea that he shares with readers, and how that idea has impacted his life.
What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?
Awareness and self-discovery of my public service calling led me to write this book. I have been journaling since my first year in the league. I decided to chronicle my experiences and annually look back on them to see what I did right and what I had done wrong.
Then, I was inexplicably cut by the Bears in 2018. All my life, I had compounded successes. As a player and as a student, each success was followed by the next success, except this time. I reviewed my year and while I believe I still deserved a spot on their 53, I had to find a way to explode from this situation, not implode. It dawned on me that I had seen this movie before, only I wasn’t the star. Some people shrink in adverse situations, others stare them down.
I wanted to provide a measured way to confront adversity so that when it happens, and it will happen, it won’t shock you because you’ve been prepared to deal with it. This is the real gift. During my convalescence, during those trying moments, I captured my gift in words and wanted to share it with everyone who’s been there or on their way there.
What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?
This is not a self-help book, rather, this is a self-actualizing book. This book offers the reader the powerful truth, that is, there is no quick fix. This is not a “flip this old house manual” but it does provide a do-it-yourself expedition. In Silver Spoon, I share stories that illustrate that no one’s road is easy. The imperfections of life spill into every part of our achievement factor.
You may have to clean up those imperfections one at a time and that’s where the true success lies — in knowing and actualizing your ability to clean up what you’ve messed up, and also in confronting issues that are not of your making but that are impacting your life. Finally, the book trusts in you that the world is calling for your service and you must answer that call.
What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?
People sometimes thought I had it easy because of my parents’ professional success. Not the case. While I may not have had to worry about food or shelter, like everyone else, I have had those moments when I said to myself, “Why is this happening to me?’ or, “What’s the point?”
Those are the valleys we all confront in our journey. During my struggle, I had to enlist the help of people who could improve my skills and sharpen my mind. And this is not just about football, or sports. There are those moments in life when you connect that power within you to withstand, and then stand. Those are the moments that you are most successful, and that power is your silver spoon. James Baldwin said, “Some moments in a life, and they needn’t be very long or seem very important, can make up for so much in that life; can redeem, justify, that pain, that bewilderment, with which one lives, and invest one with the courage not only to endure it, but to profit from it.” I learned how to profit from those moments of pain and bewilderment.
To learn more about overcoming adversity and answering the calling for your life, you can find Silver Spoon: The Imperfect Guide to Success on Amazon.