Here’s a mind tool that few ever consider. Look closely at any successful man or woman and you will see that they stand on the shoulders of giants. People who either publicly or privately had great influence on them. Many a man has also been crippled when one of those giants he stood on fell.
You will lose a giant, if you haven’t already. What will you do? Will you be crippled by it?
Giants come in many flavors, sports stars, fathers and mothers, pastors, teachers, friend. Sometimes they are close like a parent, sometimes far off. They have names, like Bill Cosby, Pete Rose or F. Lee Baily, O.J. Simpson’s lawyer. The biggest lawyer of a generation just filed bankruptcy. I imagine there are more than a few lawyers who look at him as a role model and wonder how this could happen. Who is your fallen giant?
In my twenties I came into contact with a man who was hugely influential to me spiritually. I met my wife through him, he performed our wedding. I believed in what he was doing and worked with him along with many other young men and women, in the hundreds eventually. But one day he fell. Publicly it was all at once, but it had been unfolding behind the scenes for some years. He embezzled over half a million dollars from our local church. The usual happened.Shock, anger, sadness, denial. Over fifty people showed up in court to support him in spite of overwhelming evidence of guilt.
When giants fall, it can sometimes take down whole businesses or institutions, destroying many lives. How do you survive that?
Eat the fish, spit out the bones.
Ironically enough, I first heard that quote from my fallen giant, and it’s good advice. Nothing is perfect in life, certainly not people. Maturity comes from taking in the good from that person, and rejecting the bad. Now if your fish is 90% bone and 10% meat you might not want to even bother, but I’m talking about your fallen giant. You are either choking on the bone he left in your throat, or you a living off the meat he gave before he fell.
Don’t swallow bones.
You shouldn’t have to be told to do this, but I know countless people who spend years gagging on the same bone. Every day they pick it up and put it back in their mouths. They don’t want to let go and move on. Are you one of those?
Don’t put your giant on a pedestal. He’s already tall enough.
The thing you worship controls you. Whether it’s a woman, teacher, career, whatever thing you have on that pedestal controls you. If you are the religious sort, only God should be on that pedestal. If you find yourself doing any of the following you need to take that person off the pedestal:
- Hang on their every word without question.
- In your eyes they can do no wrong, and you find yourself making excuses for them when they do.
- You feel less a person than they are. You’re not.
- You’d feel lost in life without them and they are irreplaceable. A perverse form of oneitis.
- You do anything to keep them happy, or get in good with them. That’s being a sycophant, which is fancy talk for butt-kisser.