the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on, or produce effects on, the actions of others, to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself: behavior, opinions, etc.

What is it that causes some people to stand out from the crowd, to be heroes, to be champions, to influence us in our values and behavior? Why do we admire some people and attempt to emulate them?  Or, why do we allow what “they” say to sway our decisions to mediocrity?

Who are “they” anyway?  What makes one person stand out from the crowd and speak their mind without fear of rejection? What do those people have that drives them to be more, do more, have more, to be the pinnacle of achievement in their game? Who influences and inspires them?

We may want to be like those heroes and have the accolades that they have, but are we willing to do what they did to “become” that person who stands on top of the success mountain?

Nietzsche the philosopher said, “No one can see in the work of the artist how it has become–that is its advantage, for wherever one can see the act of becoming one grows somewhat cool.” He went on to say “Our vanity, our self love, promotes the cult of the genius. For if we think of the act of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking… to call someone ‘divine’ means:, here there is no need to compete.”

We are in awe of these people, these people we label ‘genius’, and because we see them as born gifted, we have justification to stay in our mediocrity.  Everyone else around us is the same, we don’t want to stand out from the crowd, and yet we do. We are influenced by the masses, which say “if it feels good, do it”. But working hard to become the best never feels “good”. It is the price we pay “to become” when no one is looking that makes us who we are. The character of the champion comes from persistence and dedication. Or is it the idle laziness of ‘feeling good in our comfort zone’ that overwhelms us and robs us of the ecstasy of achievement? And then to justify why we didn’t take up the offer of greatness, we need to find an excuse. We never would want to allow it to be so simple as to say “I chose not to discipline myself”. Who is writing your story? Is it really you … or are you simply following the scripts of other influential, and even well-intentioned, people in your life?

The ‘act of becoming’ probably will take years and never happens by chance. It is always by design. It requires self-discipline, and that is the same as a four-letter word.  “Self”-discipline–being driven by an outcome that is so consuming that we forget the hours of pain, sweat, sacrifice and missing out because we are focused. We are willing to do whatever it takes. “Freedom begins the moment you realize someone else has been writing your story and it’s time you took the pen from them and started writing it yourself.” Bill Moyers

We search for heroes who have achieved in the past to inspire us and keep us on track; “if they can do it–so can I.” I seek to be influenced by these exceptional people and their passion, vision, persistence and hard work. And then the world says of us… “you are an overnight success” because the world only sees the end result, not the ‘making of greatness’–the hours of learning and growing and being influenced by other great men and women.  “What matters in life is not what happens to you, but how you remember it and how you tell it,” said Gabriel Garcia Marquez. 

And with achievement you become the “influencer,” lifting those around you to higher ground because of the example you present. You now have the capacity or power to be a compelling force on, or produce effects on, the actions of others, to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone else. You have completed the cycle and left a legacy of influence.

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