Werner Erhard said that we choose who we are going to be in any given moment. Once we get that, then making a difference becomes our authentic self-expression. So, it’s no longer all about me or you.
Shakespeare’s Macbeth had the epiphany:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Perhaps, life by its very design inherently has no meaning. We’re either being right or making others wrong. We either dominate others or avoid being dominated. We forever try to make up for the failure to be in the past. We all do our very best to win. But what exactly do we win? After all, our time on Planet Earth shall be finite. Just saying.
I get all that. After all, we’re human.
Yet, I get from Werner that the only meaning in life is the meaning that we give it. Yeah, we all want to live a meaningful life. However, making life meaningful doesn’t come naturally at all nor is it a casual walk in the park. Nope. Making life meaningful requires a hell of a lot of practice. So life is not nothing. Again, just saying.
Part of our inherent human design is becoming greater than we know ourselves to be. On our journey, we constantly reinvent our greater than versions, whatever that might be. So as I create my greater than version: What I’m willing to do and what I’m willing to give up. That’s way easier said than done. No shit. So what there is to do: “Just train.”
Reinventing the greater than version of ourselves constructs our varying spheres of influence. The Rock – Dwayne Johnson said, “The most powerful thing we can be is ourselves.” Amen. Although being our authentic selves is important, Dwayne said that the “gold” lies in “Bringing everyone with you.” We help create the greater than in others, as well.
When you bring everyone one with you, that’s when you have a profound global influence. That’s when you can make a difference in the world at large, for humankind.
My varying spheres of influence may not be at all grand in nature. Yet, they are still influential. Aikido is meaningful to me. Sensei Dan taught me Aikido for 25 years. With Sensei gone now, Sensei Bobby teaches me. Bobby and I were both students of Sensei. Sensei taught us both the Art of Aikido, and what it is to be Good Men.
To his very soul, Sensei believed that the World would be a better place when people trained in Aikido. That aligned with O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba’s dream for peace in the world. I’m part of Sensei’s enduring legacy. He would always say, “Make it work.” Make me work. In the bigger picture: Make the world work.
I’ve been fortunate to use my sphere of influence in teaching teenage boys Aikido over the years. Adam came to the Dojo when he was 14 years old. Teaching Adam was like teaching the younger version of me. My karma. Adam hid great anger within. He expected perfection from himself and was unforgiving of himself when he was imperfect. Paradoxically, I was that dude, who said, “Lighten up, man.”
Adam was good looking, very smart and had a good heart. He got Aikido quickly from Sensei, Bobby and me. I whimsically told him, “Remember to use your powers for good, not evil.” Adam made Shodan, 1st-degree black belt, about a month before he turned 18 years old.
As a graduation gift, his Mom Joyce asked a bunch of us to write letters to her son. I wrote that I was so proud of Adam. I would never be a Father. If I could have had a son, he would be Adam.
After graduation, Adam served in the Army deployed overseas. Now, he’s studying for his Ph.D. in linguistics. Adam is part of my sphere, part of me too. Whether my influence was greater or not, doesn’t really matter. Adam is a good man, someone his parents are proud of. I’m proud of him. As much as I made a difference for him, he made a profound difference for me.
Given my experiences growing up as a young boy, what I feared most was being an unforgiving angry Father. Consequently, I had forsaken becoming a parent. I got that was really my story. As Lady Macbeth said, “What’s done cannot be undone.” Yeah.
Perhaps, I made the prejudiced choice. I’ve been able to make a difference for Adam, Lukas and other teens as they evolved into good men. Yes, things don’t always turn out as I had wished. Yet, life worked out. I’m okay with my sphere of influence.
I’ve self-published a book about my love for movies and their sphere of influence on my life. My dear friend, bestselling author Ken from high school, inspired me to take my leap of faith. Now, I’m working on a couple more books. I’m writing posts on The Good Men Project. Who would have thought? Certainly, not me.
In my posts, I look at what it is to be human, what it is to be a good man. Surprisingly, I’ve gained a following. I think what I’ve written has made a difference for others out there. Somehow, I’ve expanded my sphere of influence by just being me. Dwayne Johnson got it right. Power is in being my authentic self. Amen.
In the bigger picture: The Art of being human is becoming greater than you know yourself to be. We can’t do that alone. That’s why we bring everyone with us. Just saying.
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Photo credit: Screenshot from video