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.