Wednesday, October 21, 2020

LIFE Lessons in HUMILITY, Part 2

Joseph Fiennes & Tom Felton in Kevin Reynold's 2016 Film, RISEN

Last week's post introduced the movie, RISEN, starring Joseph Fiennes. It discussed how Fiennes' character, Clavius, became more self-aware and humble through his experiences as chronicled in the movie. 

Today's post continues this theme.   

Humility is Admitting When You're Wrong and then Changing Course

An area of humility that virtually everyone struggles with is the DEEP and prideful FEAR of being wrong, and the inability to seerecognize, and/or acknowledge when you are wrong about something and then change course to follow a betterclearer, and more accurate pathway.

Toward the end of the film, after seeing Yeshua—the resurrected Christ—with his own eyes, an unusually subdued Clavius finds himself in private dialogue with Jesus, who asks him point blank: "What frightens you?"

Clavius's unusually honest and transparent response: "Being wrong." 

Click HERE to watch a VIDEO CLIP of this SCENE

Many of us can probably relate with this fear to which Clavius humbly admits.

Up to this point in time, Clavius has viewed himself as being one of the most important people holding one of the most powerful positions in the most dominant nation on Earth (at the time). In his mind, everything he thinks, says, and does is right. His journey that leads him to a sentient experience of the seemingly impossible completely rocks his inner world. Shaken to his core, he simply doesn't know how to respond to these inexplicable, yet very real experiences, all of which fly in the face of everything he has previously known and believed. And while his experiences don't necessarily turn him into a Christian believer, he himself admits that he can NEVER BE THE SAME because of his newly acquired SELF-AWARENESS and HUMILITY.   

Click HERE to watch a VIDEO CLIP of this SCENE

Some people, like Clavius, will go to the ends of the Earth to avoid being proven wrong, or from having to admit that they were, or are, wrong. I, for one, don't fully understand it. In my view, it is so much easier—at least in the long run—to quickly confess an error in thinking, speaking, or acting and then move on confidently with better, truer, and more accurate information than it is to stubbornly hold on to an erroneous idea for ego's (or public opinion's) sake. Aside from protecting one's ego or public popularity, what use is "kicking against the pricks" of reality? Doing that only hurts YOU! In truth, a complete commitment to REALITY is really the only way to live as an authentic self-action leader.

As one author incisively put it:
"We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn [in thinking, speaking, or acting], then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the [person] who turns back soonest is the most progressive ... We have all seen this when doing arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start again, the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake. ... Going back is the quickest way on." **

At Freedom Focused, we are interested in TRUTH and REALITY, and we don't really care where we find it, or from whom. We just want to see and know things as they really are, so that we can, in turn, make the wisest possible decisions in both our personal and corporate lives. We are less concerned with who is right and more concerned with what is right.
A primary reason I am where I am at this point in my life and career is because I have striven with all of my heart, mind, and soul to seerecognize, and acknowledge when I am wrong and then change course to think, say, and do what is right. In my mind, it does absolutely no good to argue with or fight against Truth with a capital "T." Every second I do so only hurts ME. The quicker I can admit to being wrong, and then change course, the better.

As a flawed human being, I recognize that acknowledging error and changing course causes a great deal of pain and irritation to one's pride and ego. I know this because I have been wrong a LOT in my life. As such, my own pride and ego have been bruised and bloodied more times than I care to admit. But that is okay—nay, that is more than okay; that is FANTASTIC—because I would infinitely prefer the short-term pain of a bruised ego than the infinite pain of pursuing a wrong course to its destined end. Moreover, the deeper my ego is wounded, the better; because ideally I would like to be completely free from its prideful and counterproductive influence in my life.

If I have to choose between a short-lived, albeit agonizing, smart for a brief amount of time or excruciating pain over the long-run, I'll choose the former pathway every day of the week and twice on Sundays. The quicker we seerecognize, and acknowledge the TRUTH of any given matter, the sooner we can choose to align our thoughts, speech, and behavior therewith and avoid much greater pain down the road.

What about the "Gray Areas" of Life?

Unfortunately, not every situation and decision in life is "Black-and-White." What, then, can we do when we must choose between two flawed, grayish options—both of which possess truth and error, plusses and flaws? As a utilitarian philosopher the answer to this question is clear to me: I usually must choose the option which—in the long run—will bring about the most possible benefit to the most possible people with the least possible collateral damage, after having considered, analyzed, and synthesized all possible variables involved. This philosophy does not make every decision clear or easy because there is often a lot of "homework" involved. Furthermore, there is almost always an exception to every rule. Nevertheless, this formula does tend to point me in the right direction, generally speaking, when I must deal with life's pesky "Gray Areas."  

Clavius's journey is adventurous and suspenseful and Fiennes' and his colleagues' acting is superb. One scene in particular vividly demonstrates the level of talent on display in the film—as well as Clavius's deepening inner struggle and discovery as he pursues his pathway to answers.

The scene is set in a pub. 

It features Clavius as he interviews one of the soldiers who was guarding the garden tomb when the resurrection purportedly occurred. The drunk and disillusioned soldier—played masterfully by Richard Atwill—tries his best to explain to Clavius what he beheld at that extraordinary moment. Such a supernatural occurrence is, of course, inexplicable, and Atwill brilliantly portrays both the dismay he feels and the dilemma he finds himself in in his efforts to articulate the utterly unutterable.  

Click HERE to watch Atwill's moving dialogue with Clavius in the Pub Scene in RISEN  

I LOVE the THREE (3) Kevin Reynold's-directed movies—detailed over the past month—for a variety of reasons. I love the storytelling. I love the sets and costumes. I love the writing. I love the history of the time periods in which they are set. I love the adventures and romance involved. I love the mystery. And I love the acting. But most of all, I love the things these movies teach me and the life lessons I learn as a result. 

For many people, a movie is good if it entertains. For me, a movie is good if it teaches and inspires. In my view, the very BEST movies are the ones where I walk out of the theater determined to be a better person than I was when I walked into the theatre—a person who works a little harder, loves a little more, judges a little less, lives a more balanced life, and strives increasingly to leave this world a better place than I found it.  

I hope this article motivates you to watch these three movies—and others like them—in an effort to glean your own insights as you simultaneously enjoy watching some of the world's most talented actors, actresses, directors, and other cinematic professionals do what they do best.  

Click HERE to watch a video of Joseph Fiennes being interviewed about playing Clavius in RISEN

Disillusioned over the 2020 Presidential Election?
Tune in NEXT WEDNESDAY for a little Hope.
Tune in NEXT WEDNESDAY for a Special Pre-Presidential Election edition of the Freedom Focused Blog. Freedom Focused is a non-partisan organization that does not endorse candidates or support political platforms. We do, however, comment from time-to-time on various political matters insofar as they relate to Self-Action Leadership and/or Freedom. Next week's article will make the case that Americans have reason to be optimistic moving forward, despite the current challenges we face—and regardless who wins the upcoming election. Are you feeling down-in-the-dumps because of the incivility and other drama surrounding this year's Presidential Election? If so, you won't want to miss next week's Post!

Click HERE to learn more about our Vision and Mission at Freedom Focused.

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** Lewis, C.S. (2001). Mere Christianity. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. Pages 28-29

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