T Nation

Strength And Honor

One of my all time favorite movies is Gladiator. If you haven’t seen it yet, then go rent it before you read this. Anyway, tonight I was renting some movies and found the Gladiator DVD for sale in the “previously viewed” bin. It would have been a deal at twice the price.

Do you want to know why I like this movie so much? Because it rings true. It shows the difference between snakes who rise to power and those who rise to power because people want to follow them.

From time to time I’ve toyed with the idea of changing my name. I doubt I ever will, but if I did it would be to Maximus Decimus Meridius. He is a leader. He is a hero. He is a man posessed of only one thought.

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

It is my favorite movie because it reminds me of my best times, so far, in this life. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a warrior, but I have lead. Admittedly, only very small teams and in the world of business. However, the taste of leadership bestowed by those who choose to follow you, is incredibly satisfying.

I’m not writing this to brag about my good times. I’m writing this to share a piece of wisdom with my fellow T-men. Perhaps many of you already know it, but I’m sure there are some who have not had the opportunity to learn it. Are you curious?

This is deceptively simple. I have won the hearts of people. I have forged strong successful teams. During my travels I have been adopted by strangers as though I was family. I was able to create a band of brothers if you will. As the decades pass, I recall these events, and I draw strength from them.

Not too long ago it was my birthday. I received an email from a woman that had worked with me. She wrote, happy birthday, you are still my hero. With only words of encouragement I was able to greatly change the shape of her life. With events like these in my past I consider myself truly blessed.

Each and every one of us has the power to change peoples lives. Through our words and through our deeds we can help each other achieve great things. Well, we can. The wisdom is to live your life such that you enhance the lives of those around you. I don’t know if there is a greater honor than winning the love and respect of others.

Maximus does this. He is a man of purpose, integrity and honor. He is smart, he is wise, he is strong and those around him grow to love him. At the end of the movie, when he is lifted onto the shoulders of his peers and carried off the field, the dead emperor lying in the dirt, I am reduced to blinking and sniffing so that I won’t cry.

The sacrifice, the strength and the honor are incredible.

I think T-Nation may play a role similar to Maximus in many of our lives. It gives us the ability to achieve our goals. It brings together like minded people who share their ideas, knowledge and success. We are forced to consider what it means to be T-men. How should we act? How should we treat others? What should we do with our lives?

We are all fellow gladiators. Live your life with strength and honor. Lead through example. Draw strength from the impact you have had on others.

If you find yourself alone, riding through green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled, for you are in Elysium, and are already dead.

Live as heros my brothers.

I completely agree…

Very well said.

You have a great attitude bro. You sound like a good boss to have. Keep it up!

How irritatingly Readers Digest of you.

Let’s cast Jon Lovitz in the role of Maximus. Maximus of purpose, integrity, honor, and balding nasal wit.

Still considering a name change?


Of course, but if all you have is negative attitude, stay the hell off my team…

[quote]vroom wrote:
Of course, but if all you have is negative attitude, stay the hell off my team…[/quote]

Wow…what a good leader (yawn).

LOL, thanks Zeb, I know I can always count on you… :wink:

Guys, I know I have opened myself up for attack by posting as I have, and that is okay. Criticize if you will.

However, the point of the item is to live your life such that you are a positive force in the lives of others. To have dreams or goals and work towards having them realized.

I try, and sometimes fail, but when I am spent and gone I’ll know that I’ve had some effect. That I’ve made some changes here and there. Even if I fail for the rest of my life to do so again, I will not stop trying.

Every day we spend a small portion of our lives… and we only have so much. Don’t sell it cheaply. Don’t just be alive, live.

Excellent post, vroom.

Great post.
Oh, and if people don’t agree with you, just bomb them until they do.

What office are you running for?


Well said. I was thinking about this after TC’s “T-Man Defined” article. Integrity, Intelligence, Improvement–three good goals to have. I started asking myself if I were living up to any worthwhile ideals, or just ambling through life. I started evaluating myself in ways similar to what you have shared. I realize that I’ve made more friends than enemies, helped more people than I hurt, don’t (any more) run people down just because I can, DO give and pass on compliments, etc. I know I’ve made a difference in people’s lives, and although it won’t ever get me elected or rich or a blow job, I’m happy for having done it.

When all is said and done, I would hope that everyone on this board would be able to post a similar story.

Very interesting post.

I completely concur with what I read as the thesis: Believe in things, and lead by example, and people will see that.

As for looking to Roman history as an example, unfortunately, when dealing with national politics, too often what happens is more akin to what happened to Julius Caesar in real life, rather than what happened to Russell Crowe in the movies: a group of petty, jealous people who also had pretensions to power ganged up on the inspirational leader and assassinated him.

I don’t mean that as any sort of allegory for the current Presidential race – I mean that as a lesson for politics in general, or any situation in which someone else who is not on your team has to decide on the kind of job you did or how fit you are as a leader.

I hope that most of you are involved with teams and projects in which you can deal directly with those who benefit from your good works, and in which you can provide support and leadership for your team.

And I think we should all aspire to the ideal you have laid out – and I think it really is a defining difference between a T-Man and just another guy.

I can likewise point to a time where I had the vision, the leadership (both in position AND willing following), knew that what I was doing was RIGHT (and many of the company leaders agreed), and when it was all said and done, I was penalized for it. My immediate supervisor decided that it wasn’t in the scope of the project. I did it anyway. Fortunately, a couple years later I was vindicated in that the supervisor was replrimanded and relieved of duty, and the changes I had headed were adopted on another program. Unfortunately, the financial impact to ME was never rectified. But I knew, as did the people who worked with me, that we did the right thing. And that is what matters most to me.

Vroom, what an excellent post. You sound like a wonderful person and a true T-man. I’ve always thought that if you respect people, they’ll respect you…and I respect you and what you’ve said here.

[quote]Testy1 wrote:
Great post.
Oh, and if people don’t agree with you, just bomb them until they do.[/quote]

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Good one Testy. Always strive to be a great influence in someone’s life. You may never know how important it can be to someone. RLTW