“When a man fails in life he usually says, “I am as God made me.” When he succeeds he proudly proclaims himself a “self-made man.” Man is placed into this world not as a finality,—but as a possibility. Man’s greatest enemy is,—himself. Man in his weakness is the creature of circumstances; man in his strength is the creator of circumstances. Whether he be victim or victor depends largely on himself.
Man is never truly great merely for what he is, but ever for what he may become. Until man be truly filled with the knowledge of the majesty of his possibility, until there come to him the glow of realization of his privilege to live the life committed to him, as an individual life for which he is individually responsible, he is merely groping through the years…
Man needs less of the “I am a feeble worm of the dust” idea in his theology, and more of the conception “I am a great human soul with marvelous possibilities” as a vital element in his daily, working religion. With this broadening, stimulating view of life, he sees how he may attain his kingship through self-control. And the self-control that is seen in the most spectacular instances in history, and in the simplest phases of daily life is precisely the same in kind and in quality, differing only in degree. This control man can attain, if he only will; it is but a matter of paying the price.” ~ William George Jordan
I love Mr. Jordan’s assertion that you are placed here not as a finality, but as a possibility and that if you approach life weakly, you will forever be a victim of circumstance, whereas if you approach it in strength, you are a creator. I’m sure that most people long to be creators and not victims, but for lack of the right education and training their identity remains firmly fixed in the dust of the earth.
It is a strange thing that people more often than not must be convinced of the greatness of their soul. This is not to be confused with the greatness that many people feel about themselves in an outer sense, as in “I am beautiful,” “I am smart” or “I am all heart,” for such greatness often leads to vanity or hubris. For the greatness of your soul to be known, you must first and foremost be humble.
Humility is a stance of strength. Many assume it is a weak-kneed or apologetic approach to living, which it is if it comes dishonestly, but true humility allows for the fullest expression of your inner greatness in any circumstance you might face. False humility produces false pride, limiting the greatness that could be expressed from the inside out. True humility is like a fiber optic line that allows the light which emanates from the core of you outward to your body, mind and heart, that is, the “you” that everyone else sees. How do you let your light shine? For starters, by assuming a stance of complete humility.
Humility sets the stage for the development of self-control. Arrogance, on the other hand, plants the seeds for the gradual yet eventual loss of self-control. Arrogance is easy to recognize. Defined as “having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance, merit, ability, etc.,” arrogance gives evidence of a disconnect between the soul and the mind. Absent this nourishing link, the mind must artificially inflate itself.
Man’s greatest enemy really is himself. He is either, as Jordan observed “the creature of circumstances” or the “creator of circumstances” and it is his approach to living, more than the quality of the hand he is dealt, that establishes him as one or the other. I suppose that is why it was written long ago that the number of man is the same as the number of the beast. This is not a religious statement belonging to one group or another, it is simply a statement of the fact that we are capable of both dominion and subjection.
Approach life in strength and humility and you are bound to be a creator in the center of your world. Handle your world reactively rather than radiantly, forever worrying about what lies around the next corner and obsessing about how it makes you feel, and you are sure to assume the role of a victim to be pitied.
The choice is yours.