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Scars and Stripes: An Unapologetically American Story

Scars and Stripes: An Unapologetically American Story PDF

Author: Tim Kennedy

Publisher: Atria Books


Publish Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN-10: 1982190914

Pages: 416

File Type: Epub

Language: English

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Book Preface

My name is Tim Kennedy, and I have a problem: I only feel alive when I’m about to die.

I’ve killed evil men on multiple continents, fought in main-event bouts in the UFC, served as a Green Beret, an EMT, a firefighter, and a cop. I’ve hunted Nazis, drug runners, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, human traffickers, rhino poachers, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, wildebeests, elk, bears, and have the recipe for the perfect soufflé. I fly helicopters, jump out of airplanes, dive mixed gas to the ocean depths, wrestle bulls with my bare hands, lift heavy weights, blow things up, and am proficient in just about every weapon under the sun. I train warriors, own companies, serve my country—and I’m just getting warmed up.

But life hasn’t been easy, and it sure as shit hasn’t been perfect. On the surface, I make a pretty good Rambo, but the truth is for everything I’ve accomplished, I’ve screwed up a whole lot more. I don’t mean that in the self-serving “my biggest fault is I work too hard” style. When I say I’ve hit rock bottom, I need you to understand I went for it so hard that if I were a car, I’d have no windows, doors, or fenders, and I’d be on fire… at the bottom of a ravine.

But as bad as it got (and it got really bad), I’ve never quit. I’ve been called a lot of things: the most dangerous man in the world, an elite fighter, a businessman, a dad, a husband, a hero, a villain, an SOB, and an arrogant asshole. There’s probably truth to all of those things. But at the heart of it all, I am a survivor.

And that’s what this book is about. It’s about learning how to weather the storms, no matter how bad they are, and start making decisions to improve the situation and get yourself to a better place. And when I say “weather the storm,” I don’t mean that in a passive way. Sure, there’s something to be said for enduring pain, but enduring that pain and not making any changes in your life until the pain subsides is pretty dumb.

You don’t want to be dumb.

Your life only gets better when you do a few things:

  1. Take accountability for it. It’s your fault.
  2. Failure is going to happen. When it does, see number 1. If you want to fail less, see numbers 3–7.
  3. An ounce of prevention prevents a pound of cure. The best time to start preparing is right now.
  4. You cannot mass-produce elite people. They need to be forged from hard experiences. If you want to be one of them, you need to seek these challenges consistently.
  5. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For some people that means therapy. For some people that means yoga and a cup of tea or fishing with the family. For me that means embracing a constant struggle. Rejecting comfort makes me… well… comfortable.
  6. Surround yourself with good people striving to also improve themselves.
  7. Build goals and pursue them to the end of the earth.

No matter where you are in life, putting yourself on this path will change everything.

There are enough “guru” books out there already. I want to take you on a wild ride that literally zero other human beings have ever experienced.

I just turned forty-two. I’ve been selfish. I’ve been an asshole. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve been all too human. Twelve years ago this book would have been about how spectacular I am. That book would have sucked ass. Yeah it would have had its moments, but the last dozen years have been marred with failure and loss and gifted with growth, reflection, and hopefully, a little wisdom.

So why am I writing this book?

  1. First and foremost, to tell you a hell of a story. And I won’t sugarcoat it. I’m not out to make myself a hero, because I’m not one. I want to write nothing but the unvarnished truth. You’ll get the good, the bad, and the ugly, and if you’ve ever seen my face, there’s a lot of ugly.
  2. To elevate all the people who have made a meaningful impact on my life. My rise to celebrity has a lot to do with being a fighter, which I don’t rank very high on my list of accomplishments. Tim Kennedy the UFC star doesn’t exist without all the men and women who have invested time in me along the way. And this isn’t about giving shout-outs to my bros. Some of these people hate me because of the way I was when I knew them, but they made a profound impact.
  3. To let you know there is always a path forward. There were many times in my life that if you just took a snapshot and read the bullet points of who I was and what was happening to me, you would have said, “What a loser!” And I was. But everyone is straight trash on their worst days. Life is about digging yourself out of those holes and doing something worthwhile, and serving something bigger than yourself. I wasn’t born getting that. I had to suffer, and have it beat into my head over and over again, and even then, I had to almost die to finally understand. And I want people who are reading this thing, who feel like total losers with no way out, to see a path forward and get the fuck after it. I want them to start LIVING.

In these pages, I’ve gone out of my way to tell you the unfiltered truth. A lot of it was embarrassing to write. A lot of it doesn’t paint me in the best light. Sometimes, I’m simply not the good guy. And as painful as it was to put on paper, it needed to happen this way. My public life tells a story of great, inspiring success. No one’s public life is real. Life’s messy. It’s hard. And sometimes, even the best of us are total pieces of shit. I need to show it all to you in order for you to value any of it. I want you to know, to understand, to feel it in your bones, that no matter where you are in life right now, there is a pathway to get better. You can be more than you ever thought possible, but it will not be easy, and the pathway to success is not a straight line.

As I tell this story, please understand I have done so to the best of my recollection. Many of these stories happened a long time ago, under significant circumstances, and I have suffered a lot of head trauma. I did my absolute best to corroborate every single story in here, but the “fog of war” is a real phenomenon. As those of you who have been in combat or other traumatic situations know, four guys can be on the same ground at the same moment in time fighting the same enemy and remember very different things. Throughout the whole research process, I am thankful to report that all the important pieces of the story have been corroborated. Nevertheless, I’m certain my telling isn’t perfect, and if there are people I have forgotten to include, or details I have omitted or changed, I apologize.

There are some names and details that I have changed. These do not affect the meat of any of the stories in this book, but they do protect critical aspects of national security and the lives of several people still doing good work.

Finally, I’m going to tell the story a little differently than most memoirs. I decided to write the whole thing in the first-person present tense. I don’t want to tell you what happened to me. I want to immerse you in the crazy journey I have lived so you can feel each moment and each decision as I felt them. I want you to feel all the fear, failure, sadness, happiness, and success right along with me. That’s the only way you can truly understand my journey and apply it to your own

I hope my story inspires you. I hope it changes your life.

It’s been one wild ride thus far.

Hop in and let me show what I’ve seen.

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