Does anyone remember Gladiator? It was a movie that came out in 2000 that I have seen probably 6 times since it first came out. The action in the movie was predictable as gladiator movies go, but the underlying message that I came away with was far greater and more impacting. Maybe the word I am looking for is ‘revealing’. It was a classic story of a son who lived with a sense of entitlement – Caesar’s son – and what he was willing to do in order to achieve his selfish unearned position on the throne of power.
Like most stories like this, there was also a hero who was his nemesis, at least in the eyes of Caesar’s son. I once heard it said that it is most often the self-righteous man who counts the number of times a man stumbles who seeks after greatness. I have also heard it said that is it the avowed critic who points out how the doer of good deeds could have done them better. In my opinion, these are the voices of mediocrity – the enemy call average. There can be no doubt that the voice of mediocrity will always speak with condescension towards anyone that dares to rise above mediocrity’s place among the masses. Mediocrity will be quick to attack, accuse, slander, call names, judge and/or condemn anyone who aspires for greatness – especially when they falter or fail. As the song so aptly says, “Haters are going to hate.”
The name champion is reserved for the few who understand the nature of the journey towards accomplishing great things in their lives for the sake of others. They are the few and far between who are willing to take a stand for what they think is right – not for their own selfish gain or comfort, but for the wellbeing of others and the greater good. They are willing to travel the longer, more rocky road, towards accomplishing what they have set out to accomplish.
In the true victories of life, the victory belongs to those who are the recipients of the benefits of a job well done, but the legacy of greatness will belong to the individual who was actually in the arena fighting the good fight for what they believed and were not sitting in spectator’s seat. You can spot the champions in life. They are those whose faces are marred by the dust, blood, sweat, and tears associated with struggles, trials, and tribulation.
And while for a moment in the course of a champion’s journey there will be the remembrance of when they repeatedly erred or came up short of the mark, the champion will most be remembered in history, not because of all their failures, but because of the lasting positive change, they brought to the world around them in the midst of their failure. They will be remembered for the legacy of their exploits and achievements they accomplished against all odds – even with those closest to them gave up on them or thought it impossible.
Lessons to learn from the champions of life are easy to see in retrospect, but difficult to apply for the vast majority of people who aspire to do anything beyond just leading an average or self-serving life.
- Humans are flawed and as a result, not perfect either in attitude, aptitude, action, or achievement. Setbacks, hurdles, and even outright failure is inevitable, but they are nothing more than events in a longer timeline towards ultimate success and living an overcoming life.
- There will always be scoffers, mockers, critics, gossips, and accusers who will attack you and your progress in life – whether the progress is in your personal life or your public life. Their voices, while it is important to be understanding of their point of view, do not have to shape your thinking or deflate the wind in your sails that is pushing you towards your goals.
- It is rare to have a true friend in life. If you find one, protect that friendship as you would protect the vision or mission you are committed to seeing through to completion. A friend is the best sounding board you will have because you know they have no political agenda or ulterior motive in sharing the truth in love when you ask for their advice.
- Never allow yourself to give up on what you know you have been given to do that is for the good of others and th
Let the critics, the skeptics, and the cynics be put on notice. Greatness is not found, but earned in the consistent small daily actions of those who strive to do the good deeds; who knows great enthusiasm for what he believes in and the meaning of devotion; who spends himself in a worthy cause for the sake of others less fortunate than himself; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
His place shall never be with those average, reluctant, timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat, but only consistency in their mediocrity.