‘There is no Landrover. There is no Landrover. There is……NO LANDROVER.’
I say it over and again in my mind with the rhythm of a metronome. ‘There is no Landrover.’
It keeps me sane. It keeps me on track. It stops me from being fooled into resting up and celebrating too soon, loosening my helmet straps before the fight is won.
‘There is no Landrover. There is no….’
I suppose I should explain what I’m talking about before you get to thinking that me and my glassy-smooth marbles have parted company.
Picture the scene. You are on selection for the SAS. You’ve just hiked goodness knows how many miles over the icy, toe-blackening Brecon Beacons on little more than a Mars Bar and the promise that ‘when you see the Landrover you’re home. Jump in the back, take off your boots, have yourself a brew.’
So all the way around, over hills and valleys, past the graves of former aspirants, walking on blisters, working around strains and cuts and injuries, hovering somewhere between breathlessness and total exhaustion, living on fresh air and a frozen chocolate bar, total collapse an ever present vulture on your left shoulder, utter failure an odds-on-favourite on your right…..and then you see it. Like a watery Oasis in a dry desert. The Landrover. Home. You smile for the first time in days. You quicken your pace. Your mind rushes forward to a hot tea, maybe some food and bed. But just as you get within a few feet of your golden carriage it drives off leaving you stranded and confused and distraught and…..fooled. The sergeant (dressed in a warm coat, sipping a hot tea) tells you to continue on. When you ask him ‘how much further’ he gives you one of those wry smiles and says ‘until you see the Landrover.’
Most people, at this point do not continue on. They take an imaginary towel and throw in it to the ring of metaphor. They have been tricked, and (for the majority) that trick is enough to kill their dream. It has beaten them. They only placed enough fuel in the tank to get them to the Landrover, and not beyond. Not even a foot beyond. Those that do manage to pick them selves up and continue on (for an added and unspecified distance) there is instant enlightenment; there is no Landrover. And that becomes their mantra. Unless they are literally sat inside the vehicle of choice with a hot tea the Landrover does not exist.
There is no Landrover.
Especially when every one around you is telling you that there is.
I remember this every time I think a script is going to be optioned (definitely this time), a battle is going to finish (imminently) or that big deal is as good as done (just T’s to cross and I’s to dot) because I have seen many strong fighters beaten just at the point where they thought victory was certain. I’ve lost count of friends who have celebrated a deal before that all important eleventh hour. Regretfully I have friends who lost their lives when they loosened their helmet straps because the enemy had retreated and the fight was (as good as) won.
So many people fall for the Landrover trick and give up just short of greatness because they allow themselves to believe that the Landrover exists. Well, it does exist, sort of, but only when you’ve got your arse on the seat, and the tea in your hand. Until then is it little more than a phantom. It is healthy to remember this if you intend to reach the top in any game because (believe me) that big deal is always looming; the Landrover is always ‘just over the next hill.’
When the film is on screen, when the cheque is in the bank (and cleared) and when the back door is bolted and secured I take my celebratory beverage because that is the only time the Landrover is real.
Until then there is no Landrover.
And that will remain my mantra.
Thanks for listening in.