There is a fairly prominent figure in our media today whom I am finding more and more interesting – and in a negative way. He’s in his late 60’s or early 70’s, in a high profile leadership position, is obviously comfortable financially, and yet, I’m seeing signs of shallowness and light-mindedness. It is gradually being exposed that he has few values, is often publicly intoxicated, and seemingly has one goal in life, and that is to serve his narcissism. (Shallow)
On the other hand, I have been reading some books about our Navy SEALS. The training which they are required to go through to reach this high rank is beyond the imagination. They train for years in water, land, and air. They’re trained, tested and put through extraordinarily rigorous and dangerous exercises. Some of the things they’re asked to do things would probably never actually be required of them in the field, but it is a process that weeds out the weak and uncommitted. What a heroic group! (Deep)
There is a paragraph in the book The Red Circle (Brandon Webb and John David Mann) that illustrates the type of depth I am speaking about:
“In his 2008 bestseller OUTLIERS, journalist Malcolm Gladwell does a great job documenting the secret behind the accomplishments of such outstanding achievers as Bill Gates, Mozart, and the Beatles. Turns out, surprise of surprises, they all worked (very hard) training. Gladwell coins what he calls the 10,000-Hour Rule, which says that outstanding (outlying) success in any field is largely the result of a (bunch) of practice, like 20 hours a week for 10 years, which translates into 10,000 hours. Amp that pace up to eighty hours a week and you’ll get it done in two and a half years – and that right there is one reason SEALS can do what they do. . . .One thing I’d always known was the rush that comes with pushing yourself hard, the thrill of seeing endless practice gradually producing a capacity for excellence – I’d always known what it means to train hard.”
So here we are with two extremes in our society with most people in the spectrum in between. What makes the difference? Why are some happy to mooch off society and feed their light-mindedness and incur the disrespect of most they come in contact with, while others love the challenge and ‘rush’ of training and working hard? A lot of it has to do with personality, but I would venture to say that the environment we are raised in is also a factor.
Do we have parents engaged in training us how to meet our goals? Do we grow up in an environment of work, learning, and exposure to the good in life? What type of example did our children see at home and in their neighborhood and in their schools? Were reading, musical training and religion part of the home life? Most achievers have someone they looked up to who inspired achievement and greatness. All of these things have the potential to teach self-discipline and confidence.
Let’s say that we’re at a large party with many people we do not know. There are those in attendance that represent all walks of life. Now, ask yourself whom would you be drawn to – the mooching drunk? Or the Navy SEAL? (and each of their equivalents). Try to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t read, doesn’t have any hobbies (except TV watching), knows little about what’s going on in the world and is focused mainly upon them self. Unfortunately, there are members of my family in this category. I have also been around people with whom I would LOVE to visit with the whole evening at this party, but everyone else wants to visit with them too. They have depth, character, and experience that draw people to them. (I also have members of my family from this group –and thankfully most of my family.)
“It is the eternal, inescapable law that growth comes only from work and preparation, whether the growth be material, mental, or spiritual. Work has no substitute. There is no royal road to anything that is worthwhile. Nothing that is deserving of earning or of cherishing comes except through hard work. I care not how much of a genius you may be, the rule will still hold. I believe that we are here to work, and I believe that there is no escape from it. I think that we cannot get into our brain that desire too soon. Work we must if we shall succeed or if we shall advance. There is no other way.” J.R. Clark, Jr.
The choice is ours. We can live a life where:
1.) We have little respect or interest from others – maybe even our own family members,
2.) We’re respected, sought after, asked advice of and loved.
Shallow or deep?