Only three chapters remain from our study of The True Measure of a Man. This week, chapter 6, we learn about “life’s greatest paradox“. Our author sums up the answer to this very early in the chapter by saying: “Simply stated, life’s greatest paradox can be summed up in the words, ‘true strength is found in humility’….”.
Now, if that was the key to the entire chapter then I would have prefaced my statement above with a bold-texted “spoiler alert”! But, you need to dig into the rest of the chapter to certainly learn much more. There are lots of lessons and examples of gratitude, humility and grace. Remember the line from the beatitudes? “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Translated from Greek, “blessed” means “happy”. And furthermore, “meek” translated refers back to being humble, gentile and kind.
So what does this mean to us today? I remember the first several weeks at West Point, the initial six weeks of Cadet Basic Training (CBT) which was historically called “Beast Barracks”. The goal of CBT was to teach newly entering cadets to the military academy, the “plebes”, about the transformation from standout high school student to the character and traditions of what it meant to be a member of the United States Corps of Cadets. Perhaps by design, however, were many lessons of humility, helping each other out, and care for fellow classmates? Some might argue that this is a stretch, but maybe this process of breaking someone down is kinda what our author refers to this week as “strength that is found through humility”.
So the paradox we learn about this week may seem foreign to some. Aren’t we conditioned, after all, that he who speaks loudest and boldest is the true leader? Maybe this year’s political season in the US can put pause in our minds to that premise. If you take nothing from the week’s chapter, then pay close attention to the quote by Napoleon on page 96. I think it will make you stop and think.
Finally, our author shares a story where a successful businessman is confronted by a strategic planner as the businessman tries to figure out some of his next moves. You’ll want to also read that passage to understand “what’s in your box” and how that relates to our paradox as well.
Aaron leads our group this week. Mike will lead on 8/12. Jon will close out our study on 8/19. Please bring your ideas for our next study on 8/12 so we can plan ahead.