Losing, for the Win

Hi everyone! If you noticed that I did not post a new blog last week, it was because I was distracted by Comic-Con descending on my city. I would be sorry for my absence, except that I got to see/listen to a couple of my celebrity heroes!

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I had the privilege of seeing Zachary Levi, who I wrote about it the post Nerds (and you) Who Are Changing the World, and was able to attend a couple of his Conversations for a Cause. I have yet to see a final number posted on how much money Nerd HQ raised for Operation Smile this past week, but I suspect that it nears the $200,000 mark!

I also got to sit in on a panel with another man I admire, the lovely Tom Hiddleston. Although he plays a villain in the Marvel universe (Loki), he is a real life hero who works to help women and children in developing nations through UNICEF.

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I was not disappointed. I think that if you have the opportunity to interact with people you have admired from a distance there is often the fear that they might not be so admirable in real life. But these guys certainly seem to be the real deal.

 Which brings me to my point–– Who are your heroes? Do you have any, or even know any? What is it that makes them a hero to you? No, seriously, take a second and think about it.

 Just a couple of months ago I was living in Namibia, Africa. (Shout out to my friends there!) While on my way home from seeing Iron Man 3 with a few friends, a discussion about heroes arose.

Namibian sunset

Namibian sunset     photo cred: Michael Jeter

 During that conversation, I was struck by the truth that there are a few main characteristics that define a hero––things that make them who they are.

 Heroes are defined by the battles they fight and by the sacrifices they make.

 Think about it, whether your hero is Mother Theresa, or Captain America, or your mom for that matter, you admire them for these things.

 Maybe your hero battles poverty and apathy, and fights for the rights of the poor.  Or maybe they battle tyranny, and seek justice for the oppressed. Or maybe they battle depression and champion hope. So much can be ascertained about an individual’s character by knowing what battles they choose to fight. 

 The realization gave me pause. I thought, “What do I fight for? What am I willing to sacrifice for?” If we only have one life to live on this earth, I want to make it count. And yet so often I find myself caught up in the day-to-day hustle, feeling like I don’t have the time or energy to think about the “big” things in life.

Zachary Levi challenged fellow nerds at his panel to “live bigger.” I think most of us want to live ‘big’ or, at least ‘meaningful,’ lives. But it takes risk doesn’t it?

There is the risk that if you care about something, or love someone, you might end up hurt. The risk is very real. Caring is painful, but essential.

In the panel I attended for Tom Hiddleston, he profoundly stated this truth:

“You’ll never win unless you also stand to lose…Don’t be afraid of your passion.”

image credit: Elizabeth Fox (sitting next to me at the panel)

image credit: Elizabeth Fox (sitting next to me at the panel)

 It was an exhortation that I needed to hear. I am a passionate person, no doubt about it, but it is a marriage of passion and focus that create lasting change.

My challenge now is to find that focus–that thing or things that I am willing to fight for–and then passionately go after those things, knowing that I have everything to lose.

What are you willing to lose, that you might truly live?

 

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