Weekly Thought – January 4, 2022
Fred believed in heroes and their role in a successful personal network, as well as professional sphere. In his book, You and Your Network he devotes one chapter to the importance of them. This is a peek into his thinking on the subject. Happy 2022 to all. May you be stretched and blessed during this year.
Personification of Greatness
Defining the heroic quality is important in building a complete understanding of heroes. As I give examples remember they are illustrations, not recommendations. They draw a picture for me. I have chosen each for an outstanding trait which would ennoble my own life as I emulate a particular characteristic.
1) The apostle Paul: total dedication. He went through Oswald Chambers’ term “the white funeral in which he died to himself long before the “black funeral” which is physical death. He is one of the few men I feel I know just from studying him. He made up his mind and found his magnificent obsession, his lodestar, and the race that was his to run.
2) Gandhi: sacrificial unselfishness. He found a love for his people who deserved justice. The spark of greatness was ignited when he was thrown off an Indian train in a racial incident. It was a galvanizing event. He represents the desire to sacrifice and be subservient to something bigger than we are. He believed he could influence change. To me, he personifies the values needed to find answers, not just ask questions.
3) Abraham Lincoln: strength and gentleness. He did his duty as he saw it, even though it tore his heart in two as he did it. I don’t think he appears to possess a superior gift, but a superior spirit that matched his opportunity. He represented flexibility without changing course or values. He lacked personal happiness, but had abiding joy.
4) Albert Einstein: humility. Few people choose him because we rarely choose a hero who is so far above us that we cannot identify with them. Einstein is one of my heroes, not for his intellect, but for his humility. His was a natural state, not acquired or disciplined. Einstein seemed to be devoid of arrogance, self-centeredness, and conceit – for these ignoble trait had been replaced by a mental and spiritual temper which let him see his ignorance much more than his knowledge – and is gratitude far beyond his rights.
5) Leonardo DaVinci: principle-based thinking. His broad perspective didn’t drive him to mount campaigns to change life. He was relaxed to see it as it was. He understood the unifying themes of life: science, art, music, mathematics, or philosophy- they were all facets of life experience with man as the hub. Because he understood principles his mind could range indefinitely, creating sketchy ideas of such magnitude that it would take hundreds of years before they were usefully adapted. To me, he is an intellectual hero. His serenity is a personal reproach to our hurry, scurry, activist culture. He helps me remember I am a small dot in a very big picture – God’s eternal universe.
6) Abraham: vision and faith. He was willing to risk all on the unseen, transcendent God. He went out not knowing where he was going, but trusted the direction of God. He ventured into the unknown because the known was his reality. He obeyed and moved beyond the expected. Without vision we settle on too low a plateau. Without vision and faith we never experience more than the mundane.
7) Edison: persistence and perseverance. Edison is a practical hero. Each failure showed him something that didn’t work and didn’t disturb his intentional efforts to find one that did. There are times in our lives when we need someone to personify the will to survive, the refusal to give up.
8) Ben Hogan: consistency. He paid the price. While he is recognized for his tenacity and coming back after an accident and overcoming handicaps. He was willing to consistently study the golf swing until he could make it repeatable. He personified the secret of good golf.
This week carefully consider: 1) Who are my heroes? 2) What characteristics are important for personification? 3) How can I more carefully study the development of heroes?
Words of Wisdom: “Heroes personify characteristics needed for successful living.”
Wisdom from the Word: “His acts are characterized by faithfulness and justice; all his precepts are reliable.” (Psalm 111:7 NET Bible)