Genghis Khan thought he was essential. When he said:
“The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.”
you can understand how he felt about being a winner.
Growing up he was no one special. But after killing one of his brothers and recapturing his stolen bride from a rival tribe, he got the hang of being essential and conquered more of the world than anyone, ever. He knew he was essential. But he got old and sick and died, and his empire, all the land he controlled, went on its merry way. The people he commanded got busy with other people doing other things and after a while they didn’t give Genghis another thought.
They say .5% of the men living in the world today have Genghis’ DNA. Which is a lot. But still, 99.5% don’t. And 100% of the world has its own life, and the DNA of many other people. He was not as essential as he thought.
When Louis XIV said
“L’etat c’est moi” (“The nation is me.”)
he was just enjoying his moment in the sun. It ended, but he liked it while it lasted. He was at the center of the world. His decisions, his actions, his destiny, his whims, his tastes, his genius, were essential. Everybody thought so. But it did not last. You know who he was? No? You see what I mean.
There are lots of powerful people alive in the world right now who are sure they are essential. They are bubbling over with predatory glee. Taking, ravaging, calculating, scheming, allying, betraying, mating, eating, the whole triumphant shebang. Not everyone sees this as essential. But they sure do.
To me the people who come to train in our dojo are essential. They are not famous or conquerors or elite. They are people. Friends and neighbors.
They are essential to me. They are to themselves, and to their families, communities, co-workers and to all of us who share training in our dojo. We would miss them if they were not there. We appreciate them when they are.
Of course, in any organization, people come and go. You can’t get attached. You can’t expect a life commitment from each person who gets interested. But that does not change the fact that they matter.
Maybe you feel the same way about the folks you train with at your dojo.
Their training is essential to them. If their faces were concealed, like the face of someone hiding, someone ashamed, someone deformed or diseased, we could still see their commitment in the way they move, in the look in their eyes. We can see that to them what they are doing is essential.
They have been given a life. They have been given a duty to fulfill their potential, to be joyful, to become strong, to get the skills they need, to be courageous, to do right when the time comes.
Their diligence and dignity are essential. It is an example to others. It is a way of life. Strong people do not prey on the weak or take advantage of the innocent. Strong people master their bodies and minds, and make the most of their lives.
Essential people know what has to be done, and do it.
There are some who think that we ordinary people are not essential. That what we do does not matter much. We may not matter much to them. That’s their business.
Happiness is not essential. Honor is. Your life is. Your work, your friends and families, what you value and what you do to protect them all is essential. It takes training to do it well. You and your training are essential.
If someone tries to convince you that you aren’t essential, keep an eye on them. Something is up.
Post Copyright ©2020 Jeffrey M. Brooks author of “The Good Fight,” available on Amazon.
Photo by Katrina Thissen