I have never liked history. I was a science freak & it therefore led me to a road in medicine. I would listen to anything rather than having to hear boring historical events. It’s amazing what happens when you are willing to learn new information. My journey has taken me from anti-history to a lover, listener, & learner of what courageous men & women accomplished for us. My favorite genres in movies are romantic comedies, documentaries, & action. Why wouldn’t I like what history provides? History gives us, loyalty, friendships, courage & even love.
Through a National Geographic documentary, I have learned something that, in reality, mirrors what is going on in my life at this exact moment. Here are some historic examples of choices, leadership, friendships, fortitude, courage & destiny. Again…I am learning to embrace history, learn from it or repeat its mistakes. Can you imagine being written about because you took a stand or chose the road less traveled?
Here is a quote that was written at Arbroath Abbey shortly after the death of William Wallace, 13th. century Scotland– “For as long as but a hundred of us shall remain alive, never will we on any condition be subject to English rule. For it is not glory, it is not riches, neither is it honor for which we contend, but it is for freedom.” William Wallace is single-minded & charismatic in that he gained the trust of people to follow for the right reasons giving them back the belief that they would win their freedom. A common man had a notion to sacrifice for an ideal, not to lord over people, but to empower them & set them free. Surreal how close to home his story resembles people in my life.
Theodore Roosevelt’s diary entry, Feb 14, 1884 read, “The light has gone out of my life.” Through personal tragedy & loss, he exiled to the west, leaving his present life behind.
Though he was not good at the art of riding or shooting, Theodore’s guts & resilience won respect of other cowboys by learning how other people lived their lives. This served him well as president. Exile, humility & denying past successes or failures enabled him to discover his strengths & how he could impact a nation through serving others. I admire how he never succumbed to having a victim mentality.
Another figure in history that has made an extraordinary contribution is Ben Franklin.
“Be generous with that which costs little; Sincere interest, friendship, & good council.”
Franklin was known as an inventor, entrepreneur, and statesman who put the common good before power & self-interest. Some of his greatest American inventions we continue to enjoy to date are the first lending library; insurance companies; police & fire departments; & the first hospital. His thought process was to pursue happiness not by getting richer, but living more fully, by doing right by & serving your fellow-man, not by exploiting your fellow-man. “The noblest question in the world is what good may I do in it?” We should take the time on a regular basis to ask ourselves this question.
In any leadership position, people should seek the council of who they consider wise, experienced or credible. Wise counselors don’t tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. The saying, “Experience is the best teacher” is only half-true. Someone else’s experience is the best teacher saving precious time when it comes to learning lessons in life. This of course, can be taken quite to the opposite spectrum. A primary example of this treachery was a sorcerer, Rasputin who offered counsel to Russian czars. His deception & wicked counsel led the entire family to a brutal execution in 1918. Charisma, manipulation, & merely saying what people want to hear is not wisdom one should value or give. Mentors love us into the future & sometimes….it is tough love that helps us face brutal reality.
Moving back in history, we see there is always hope in an attempt to save civilization. In doing so, one must fight & be prepared to die for it. In 1415 England, Young King Henry V faced an army of French Soldiers numbering 25-27,000 against his small army of 5-6,000 men. Henry exhibited faith, rallied his troops & strategically fought the battle to win one of the greatest battlefield reversals of all time. A sense of duty, courage & love for their comrades prevailed against mere numbers. Faith endures insurmountable odds.
Another pivotal battle in June 1940 proved to be even truer as Winston Churchill led the Royal Air Force through the convictions of their cause & sense of duty for their country. The Royal Air Force took on the might of the most powerful air force in Europe, Hitler’s German invasion against Great Britain. They were outnumbered 4:1.
Bob Doe, a 1940 RAF pilot recently said, “If you believe in yourself & believe in what you’re doing, then you’re twice as strong as if you don’t.” He was about 20 yrs. old at the time of the invasion. By the end of a spectacular battle that literally altered the course of the war, not one German soldier stepped foot on British soil. The Nazis were defeated. Impossibility faced them yet, hope & belief were restored.
We have courage, counsel & what is left? There is a sense of love & trust forged in relationships that trudged throughout history. Ordinary people tested their courage & resolve while accomplishing extraordinary things. Relationships built on unlikely friendships, racial & cultural divides, are often the reason many quests are accomplished. Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgay was the first to attempt toscaleMt.Everest. These men, a beekeeper & a yak herder, were as far apart from common as ever imagined, yet their similarities & passion at heart made history. The journey of friendship, developed through hardships, can cause struggle in every areas of one’s life. Emotional, spiritual, physical, mental & psychological facets are all challenged when one attempts to support another toward a common goal. Amazing what can happen when we get over our self & learn to serve others.
In April 1909, Peary & Henson, a white admiral & a black seaman successfully planted the Stars & Stripes in what they calculated as the North Pole. This 22 yr. journey facing racial conflicts, danger, hardships & death portrays an uncommon friendship, turned partnership. Peary accepted the fact that without Henson, the son of a sharecropper, he couldn’t make it. When we begin with the end in mind & admit we don’t know what we don’t know, we can accomplish feats that have never been done before.
Throughout history we have examples of circumstances which threatened our mere existence. We read about reluctant leaders who earn the trust of people through self-sacrifice. We see the results of wise counselors who give advice when it is needed most.
We rehearse battles fought against all odds where soldiers fight of love, respect & duty not hate or power. Most of all, we rehearse the power of friendships that triumph over evil.
If victory is to be achieved, there will have to be certain losses. And there will certain debts that have to be paid to fate, to time, to death, but what it glories is loyalty, courage and the willingness not to give up. I have witnessed this more in the past 6 yrs than I have throughout my entire life. This now resonates in my being. It has only happened by mentoring with men & women who exemplify each of the courageous examples given. In life, there is dream, struggle, & victory. I don’t always choose my struggles, but I will continue to dream & I certainly can choose who I celebrate the victories with.
Sometimes I hear people say hurtful things like, “They were friends as long as they were in business together.” This sad interpretation locates their heart & defines their knowledge of what it is truly like to become involved in the dreams of others, the sacrifice of what it takes to fulfill them & the resolve to work past the struggles. Many people give up on their dreams. I am careful to surround myself with men & women who have not. This is accountability for me to adhere to. If someone has quit on their dreams or has not cared enough to invest in the dreams of others, what commitment will they have to me? I fight staying focused & committed within myself therefore, I can’t allow outside forces to add to the test of my will. As in historic examples, I am friends with many people, yet choose to invest quality time, energy & focus into like-minded, forward thinking people who I can trust will in turn sow hope & belief into my life.
The victory is worth it all. There is good left in the world & there is hope that is worth fighting for to the end. Life is happening, morals are challenged daily, and freedoms are being stripped away on a regular basis. You may not ever wield a sword or spear, but there is a fight to faith. You will have to decide & will be held accountable for what choices you make with the time that is given you. Your courageous decisions could be in a book, on a Kindle or read online in classrooms by future generations. Choose wisely how your story will be written & remembered!