LINCOLN LESSON 2
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power." (Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President)
The first and foremost possession of all men everywhere is our concepts of ourselves. What we conceive to be true is chosen by us on the basis of how we choose to feel important. Now, if you get on any street in the world and ask people, "Do you want a life where you suffer or a life where you enjoy?" You can expect almost everyone to say they want a life where they get to enjoy. Yet, most people hold concepts of themselves where they must undergo suffering. In clearer terms, most people feel that being tested by some suffering and withstanding it to the end constitutes any real victory.
As Abraham Lincoln said, nearly all men can withstand adversity. True men are not born in adversity. True character is not revealed in times sufferings. As much as movies and religion might convince a lot of people that heroism in an impossible situation is the test of character, it is not. Nearly all men can face adversity. I would say that all men have already faced the greatest adversity of their lives.
God became man and forgot himself into the weakness of humanity. There is no greater adversity that can befall any human than a complete amnesia of his true identity. We are God. But can I tell you that you really and truly are God without you considering whether I am in my right senses? Even if yes I can, it still remains that all men have undergone the worst adversity and darkest hours of life in becoming man at all. Having no memory of being the Creator and worshipping some image created by self in one's mind is one of the most tragic events that can befall a hero. Yet, it has happened to us all.
What may test our true character, however, is when we are in power, in greatness and in strength. For example, it is a true test of passion to see an intergenerationally wealthy man finding new ways to be inspired and to contribute significant work. When you do not have anything, your zero bank balance is enough motivation to work and contribute to the world's good. But when you are rich than your third generation can lavish away, then your choice to work is self-motivated and a true reflection that you consider what you do or what you contribute of the highest value to the world.
Nearly all men can stand adversity. Stop wishing for adversity and that by struggling to rise above it, you are any special. Just realise that 90% of people are doing that already, proving to themselves that they are a self-hero saving themselves from some adversity.
True men, on the other hand, these are the ones who have tasted power, tasted freedom, tasted wealth and tasted perfect health. And they do not get lost in it. When there are no adversities, real men are those who still advance their personal worlds. When there is no emergency, real men are those who still do today the task that they have set their minds upon to do.
So many religious people only keep up with a show of piety because of the great judge they have assumed awaits them at the end of their life. That is not true piety. The really pious, really holy are those who when they do not put their judgement in the hands of anyone other than themselves still choose to be moral, ethical and self controlled. These are the true men of character.
Are you one of such?
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