Shadows And Dust

One of my favourite films of all time is Gladiator. Most of you have probably seen it and if you haven’t, then you should close this blog and stream it right this second. That’s an order.

If you hadn’t noticed by now but I’ve always loved the Romans. I read Roman philosophy, have a Roman view on life and would probably wear a tunic out in public if it wasn’t so damned cold in the U.K.

There’s one quote in Gladiator that sticks with me, even though I haven’t watched it in years by Proximo, the guy who buys Maximus at a slave market….

“We mortals are nothing but shadows and dust Maximus, shadows and dust!”

I’d found myself reflecting on that quote a lot through my life. Was Proximo right? Does nothing really matter? Is everything for nothing and we really are just shadows flickering on a wall for a moment before turning to ash?

This haunted me all through my teenage years, using it as an excuse to be a hedonistic gamer nerd who spent too many hours on online games, grinding for nothing in a world that does not matter. My grades suffered, my health suffered, even my damn parents suffered knowing their only son was grinding away in a fantasy land.

All the while deep in the back of my sub-conscious, whispers of “Shadows and Dust”. Why did it matter, I’d be dead one day anyway. (As you can see I was very happy go lucky.)


Anyway, let me shift gears to a more cheerful note, you’d be happy to know I did snap myself out of this downward death spiral and now I’m healthy and firmly grinding away in the real world towards real rewards. Not the dopamine hit of a level up or new piece of gear.

But what I did learn was that that dark force of hedonism is very powerful indeed. It grips you by your very soul and behaves like a virus inside your brain.

More and more people are tricked into living in the moment, you can see this with obesity soaring, drug use through the roof and debt ceilings being broken all the time. Good news for the people profiting, bad news for you.

Tapping into the instant gratification culture can be big money if you can do it well. I see people selling quick fixes all the time. Diet pills, pay day loans, weird exercise torture devices…. They all promise the world but fall as flat as my uncle singing karaoke. Money loves speed or so they say.

But real change requires hard graft and time. You can’t quick fix yourself to a good body, learning a skill or even driving sales up in your company. It doesn’t happen overnight. It requires monumental effort from all parties involved and delayed gratification. If it didn’t it wouldn’t be worth having would it. Everyone would be a ripped, millionaire, footballer and it would be meaningless.

Yes, the Big Mac’s taste good now, but your body will thank you 5 years down the line when you’re not wheezing and struggling to walk up the stairs to bed and your blood isn’t thick gravy.

Delay the gratification and reap the rewards down the line. Shift your mentality from consumer to producer. It’ll be the best thing you ever do.

I’ll end with a quote from Gladiator, the one I wish I took on board:

“What we do in life echoes in eternity.”

What will you do with yours?

Bonus fortuna viatorem (everything sounds so cool in Latin.)



P.S  You can avoid the embarrassment of your competitors crushing you into shadows and dust and get me to write your web copy.

It might not echo in eternity but it’ll do the next best thing and echo through the internet getting you a bucket load more sales and conversions. Hit me up.

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