Tag Archives: Short Cuts

An Indomitable Spirit

bruce-lee-hd

Few things are more awe inspiring than someone’s refusal to accept defeat. You are witnessing greatness when you see someone persevere through adversity with absolute confidence they can achieve their goal. Perseverance through adversity is evidence of an indomitable spirit. I believe resolve is like a well spring deep within everyone but the ground must be broken up for it to spring forth. When someone wants to take short cuts and retreats from hardship, they are suppressing this well spring of resolve. Allow the rains of adversity to shower the grounds above this well spring. These rains will soften the ground and make it easier for the good to break through.

An Indomitable Spirit is revealed by the choices one makes. Giving up is a choice and persevering is a choice. These choices are the result of whatever is influencing us the most. Past failures, a poor or nonexistent support system, and deficient integrity can influence the wrong choices. Previous successes, a great support system, and internal strength can influence the right choices. Nevertheless, the right or wrong choice is a conscience decision that is up to the individual to make. Environment is a powerful influence but the choice is still up to the individual. Examples abound of people who overcame a negative environment and its influence to achieve success. Examples also abound of people who failed to achieve success though they had a positive environment to thrive in. The words of Henry Ford ring true: “Whether you think you can or think you cannot, you are right”.

The record setters, record breakers, and all who have made an imprint on history were individuals who made a choice. Their Indomitable Spirit pushed them beyond limitations and defeat. Edmund Hillary was the first to lead a group of mountaineers to the summit of Mount Everest. But his first attempt was not successful and even took the lives of some of those he lead. In spite of this defeat, the British Parliament moved forward with an event to celebrate his efforts. As he entered the building, a standing ovation commenced. However Edumnd Hillary appeared to only notice  a picture of Mount Everest set up in the auditorium. He walked directly up to it and while shaking his fist at the image of Mount Everest he declared: “You won this time. But you are as big as you are ever going to get. And I’m still growing.” History reveals he would not let that defeat be final and eventually he stood on the summit of Mount Everest.

A common occurrence takes place in marathon races stretching out over significant distances,. Once first place has been secured and the other leading contenders have crossed the line, it is normal for those still far behind to drop out. An attitude prevails that since, the primary victory slots have been attained continuing the race becomes optional. Throughout my martial arts training, I have heard more than one instructor say: “You are not in competition with those around you; you are in competition with yourself”.

Zoe Koplowitz has been called “The World’s Slowest Marathon Runner”. At 64, she has participated in over 20 marathon races. The quality most distinct about her participation is not her age but the fact she has battled multiple sclerosis for more than half her life. Each time she has crossed the finish line she has been a winner. It may have not been a first place winner but a winner nonetheless. Her completion time for a race has been as much as 31+ hours. Her response to this: “It doesn’t matter how long it takes me to finish, it’s that I finish and I finish from the heart”. An Indomitable Spirit forges through the false concept that only races won, count. The Indomitable Spirit knows that some races are won strictly by virtue of finishing them.

“He who gives up when he is behind is cowardly; he who gives up when he is ahead is foolish.” –William A Ward

Copyright © 2012 J.M. Cortés

Feet of Clay

When something comes into existence, its foundational elements foretell its outcome. A faulty foundation will mean instability while a sure foundation provides for an optimistic future. Relationships, business ventures, and other important decisions demand a fit beginning. Whatever it takes to begin a thing will be what it takes to carry it forward.

If focus, discipline, and commitment are required for something to begin successfully then that will mean these things will be required for it to continue. It is illogical to be surprised when a thing began wrong does not progress very far. If deceit or compromise is required to carry something forward then plans should be made for more of that to be required.

The tales of the Golem in Jewish antiquity is a tale of irony. The Golem comes into existence as a creation of clay by the hands of a superior being. The irony is that the creator would make this Golem for the purpose of consulting it, the creator seeks a seer. The tale of the Golem says the fashioning of clay combined with dance or a parchment with ‘truth’ written upon it would bring the image to life.

The creator would then appeal to the Golem for direction. But what can the creation teach the creator? What can the creation provide for the creator? The Golem rises to speak yet its own feet of clay testify against it. Its very existence displays the superiority of its creator yet ironically the creator chooses to defer to it for guidance.

This example of the Golem is one that represents the basest forms of thinking. This is a symbol of shallow thought and a desire for shortcuts. It is reasoning without deductive processes, it is satisfaction with analyzing but only at the simplest of levels. It is an approach to a solution found among deficit based resources. “I want to see the solution but I don’t want to have to strain to see it”. Foolish.

Avoid the insignificance of that which stands upon feet of clay, it will never have the capacity to bear the weight of that which holds true value.

Copyright © 2012 J.M. Cortés