Personal Note: In the coming days, I’ll be posting stories of people and incidents that have inspired me. Hopefully, these special people will inspire you, as well.
How would you define strength?
Ponder this question for a moment.
How is strength best defined? Take a moment and consider the possibilities.
Okay, so perhaps you have an answer. Now, permit me to have a go at this. Perhaps by the end of this essay, you may want to re-think your answer and consider alternative ways that strength is revealed in our society.
Here’s my take.
Strength isn’t manifested in achieving superiority, nor by making others inferior. Strength isn’t exhibited in anger or intimidation.
To the contrary. Real strength is embodied in personal sacrifice. It’s going out of one’s way to help a fellow human being. It’s putting another person’s comfort above your own. It’s dealing with the bad breaks in life and making the most out of them. That’s real strength.
I still have a lot to learn. I have a long way to go. No doubt, I have inner demons to conquer. But life has taught me it’s the small things that really matter. It’s the small things in life that bring joy and nourish optimism. Small things, like a glass of vintage wine, a meaningful conversation with family or friends, a comfortable resting place beside a warm fireplace, hearing your favorite Christmas carol, or watching a golden sunset.
Each of those things might not seem exceptional. But they are! They are indubitably rewarding. When we look back at our lives, I think most of us remember the simpler things we have done and experienced that brought us the most happiness.
It’s also the small things that often provide us with the most profound lessons. A seemingly trivial moment in the middle of the day can reveal a great deal about what’s really important. Our values stem not so much from formal education or access to the most learned academics. Life’s most meaningful lessons are taught in the classroom of daily life and come directly from one’s own experiences and observations. Our values are challenged and often reaffirmed by things that happen to us every single day.
The National Finals Rodeo is in town this week. Every December for the past 27 years, thousands of rodeo cowboys and cowgirls come to Las Vegas from all over the country — indeed from all over the world — to watch and participate in the national championship finals rodeo. Up and down the Vegas Strip, it’s backed up bumper to bumper with pick-up trucks and horse trailers — with license plates from Oklahoma, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Manitoba, Texas, and all points in between. Cowboy hats are everywhere — whether it’s elegant Venetian or down-home Sam’s Town. Almost every visitor has shiny new belt buckle and wears a pair of blue jeans or coveralls. An “invasion” of cowboys would not be too strong a word.