Dec 18th, 2009
“Out of every 100 men, 10 shouldn’t even be there, 80 are just targets, 9 are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, One is a warrior, And he will bring the others back.”
- Heraclitus, 500 B.C.
This quote speaks to me in many ways. I first heard this quote explained by Lt. Col B.P. McCoy, commander of the USMC’s 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment. He spoke about leadership at a CrossFit certification seminar and his words were morsels of wisdom to me.
I failed in many ways as a leader during my Taekwondo days. My initiative and potential were recognized early on by my TKD Master, and he placed me in a leadership position that had me leading peers who were older and higher ranked than me. Boy, did this lead to a huge learning experience. From being young and stupid, misusing my authority, cutting corners, being inconsistent…you name the mistake, and I did it. I would consider it being tossed into the fire and the mistakes I made during that time stayed with me for a very long time. But, this was probably a blessing in disguise because I probably wouldn’t have been able to learn in such a way anywhere else. It’s led me to be who I am today, and although I know I will always make mistakes as a leader, I hope that I am in a much better position to recognize those mistakes before I make them.
Out of those 100 men, you know exactly what kind of people those 10 are that shouldn’t even be there. You’ve been around them all your life. They’re the ones where things go bad whenever they think they have a good idea. Some might be in a leadership position that dictates what you do.
We all start out as the 80, just targets without a clue on what to do. The 9 are the naturals. They were endowed with the skills to take on life and they know exactly how to get things done. It would be an honor to be considered part of the 9. The One takes on the burden for all. The One must not only have the fighting skills and heart of the 9, but also has to have the vision to enable the 9, inspire the rest of the 80, and place the 10 in a position where they can’t cause harm to the rest.
The One is who I aspire to be. Not only is it my passion to lead, but there is a deep seated need to do so. I am willing, but will I ever be ready?