On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and flown into The Pentagon. All 64 passengers–including six hijackers–were killed. Another 125 people in the building were killed with them. The victims’ bodies are memorialized at the Pentagon Memorial, and they live on in the hearts and minds of a nation.

 

But one of them left something more.

 

The victims of the Pentagon attack were taken to Dover Air Force Base. This is where all CIA operatives (spies) are brought before burial. Astronauts from the space shuttle Columbia, victims of the bombing of the USS Cole–they’re prepared for their final rest by the morticians at Dover.

 

While performing autopsies on the passengers of Flight 77, one of the morticians found the ultimate “message in a bottle”: a short note, hurriedly written, in the stomach of a passenger.

 

The passenger wrote a note and ate it. Stomach acids protected the note while the plane burned.

 

What was on the note? That’s confidential. What’s important is that the message was received.

 

The passenger wasn’t sure whether they’d live or die. But they wrote the note anyway, and ate it, on the very slim chance it would be discovered.

 

Let’s turn to you.

 

Most people don’t stick with fitness for long.

 

I’ve seen the numbers. More than 53% of new gym members on January 1 will quit before April 1. Most of those remaining will attend the gym less than 3 times per month. And most of THOSE people will say they’re “frustrated with their lack of progress” on industry surveys.

 

But not you.

 

ALL of those exercisers tried hard, at least for awhile. The survivors didn’t “want it more”. No one joins a gym to be lazy, or believing they won’t have to work hard. So what’s the difference? Their WHAT was the same. Their WHY was probably pretty awesome. Only their HOW separated them. And then they quit.

 

What if those exercisers had sent US a message in a bottle? What would it say?

 

What if you were sending your OWN message in a bottle–to the next thousand exercisers, or to yourself in the future?

 

What would you write?

 

Let’s say you had thirty seconds, a used napkin and room for twelve words or less.

 

What would you write then?

 

Write it to me.

 

Hit “reply” with your message. Type it in, and hit “send”.

 

I’ll publish them (anonymously) next week.

 

And if, five years–or five months, or five minutes–from now, you need to hear your words again, ask me for it. I’ll keep them all.

 

Brad Meltzer uncovered the story, and gave more details in his fictional book, The Escape Artist.