Saturday, December 3, 2016
Is Fighting Inner Demons the Way to Greatness?
This is a question that has bothered me for years. Steve Jobs is one person who may have achieved greatness by battling inner demons. A review of a Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs notes "[f]rom his childhood, Jobs suffered from the emotional wounds inflicted by his unmarried biological parents, who put him up for adoption." Would Jobs have been so successful creating, and then saving, Apple, without inner demons from his childhood?
I was reminded of this question when I listened to another great edition of the Whistlekick podcast, featuring Jose Dimacali. In the episode, Kyoshi Dimacali describes how winning tournaments was a way to seek approval from his father. When he won a local tournament, his father didn't say anything. When he won a state tournament, his father didn't say anything. Even when he won a national tournament, his father remained silent. Kyoshi Dimacali went so far as to win a world title, but at that point his father had passed away.
Listening to his heartfelt and sad story, it occurred to me that Kyoshi Dimacali achieved greatness by battling inner demons. He admitted as much, saying that if his father had praised him after winning his first tournament, he would not have been driven to higher levels in search of approval.
This seemed like a rough way to progress through life. Could there be another way?
The photo of Bruce Lee's statue in Hong Kong hints at my answer.
I also listen to the wonderful Bruce Lee podcast. The message I have been absorbing through hosts Shannon and Sharon Lee is that there is another path to greatness. Bruce Lee provides the example. He achieved greatness by aligning his personal energy with the direction of his life and the activities he pursued. While he battled many challenges during his short life, I sensed that he succeeded because of his ability to authentically express himself in all situations. He channeled his energy towards those tasks that fit his life goals and best represented his interests and ambitions.
As Shannon and Sharon Lee make clear in their podcast, aligning one's energy and tasks will not guarantee becoming an exceptional martial artist or movie star. However, it is the best choice when a person wants to make the most of their talents and realize their goals and dreams. The alternative, whereby one's energy is wasted on tasks that do not align with their authentic self, will never be as productive or enjoyable as an "aligned life."
This realization gives me hope that one does not need to have suffered demoralizing hardships as a child in order to produce confrontation-ready demons. It is a more uplifting message to identify one's interests, skills, and abilities, and make life changes that best fit them, in order to maximize a person's potential life energy.
Are you living an aligned life?
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