The great writer Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote….
“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”
We all wear masks, we all have different faces we put on…..we all have parts of us we hide. However there comes a point where under the mask we have to find a common ground, that common ground is our character.
In the prior post, Superhero Chronicles: Step 1, we discussed who we believed ourselves to be. Now it’s time to take a look at this list and ask ourselves, is that who we WANT to be.
Masks are powerful, because masks enable us to hide. But the truest impact is made by people who don’t choose to hide behind a heroic ideal but rather become the ideal.
The truest impact is made by people who don’t choose to hide behind a heroic ideal but rather become the ideal.
Did you catch that? I’ll say it again a little differently. Making an impact on the world isn’t about choosing a powerful career, or partnering with an influential organization, it’s about becoming a person capable of massive impact. It’s about becoming a person of character worthy to wear the mask of a hero and make the type of lasting impact they would.
We often think that if we find the right opportunity then we will be able to achieve our goals. If we find the right job, if we find the right people, if we find the right network…..strangely enough that never works long term. It would be like if our military men went to war but had zero tactical training prior to combat. Or if policemen went out on the streets to keep the peace but had no idea how to resolve conflict. Or if a doctor went to operate on a patient but had no idea how the body functioned and what did what and just started to cut things open!
These ideas sound insane. No one would do that! And if they tried we would all look at them as if they had lost their mind!
Yet, this is often times exactly how we choose to try to make a difference. We get an idea of what we want to accomplish, we make ourselves look good on paper (get a degree, find the right connections) and we look for our next big break.
We search for the opportunity for impact before becoming the type of person who can handle it.
And I’m not going to say that the motivation behind this is inherently bad, I’m just saying it’s not an expression of someone who is 100% worthy of the mask of a hero.
Personally, I’d rather become the person who gives character to the mask rather than allow the mask to make up for my lack of character. Wearing a mask may enable me to win a battle but my character will determine if I win the war. My character is what makes me sustainable. My character is what withstands storms and overcomes obstacles. My character is what determines if I am strong enough when no one else was. My character determines if the impact I make will last. And is that not the ultimate goal?
You see, the mask doesn’t make my character….My character makes the mask. And if I want lasting impact, if I want to build something huge that matters, then it starts with who’s behind the mask. If I’m not who the mask portrays……then I’m going to eventually fail to live up to the ideal of who I’ve said I was. And let’s be frank, I’m going to avoid failure at all costs.
Step 2: Take a look at the list you wrote from the prior post and cross out any words that you don’t want to be a representation of your character.
Feel free to post your thoughts below or send me a tweet to chat more.