This is a quotation from the book and film titled “Lawrence of Arabia.” If you have not seen that film, I suggest that you watch it, and pay close attention to an array of characters whose lives sing. Mostly, the story is true. It seems that while the vast majority of people stumble through their lives and merely react to what happens to them, ever so often, a world-shaper comes onto the scene.
The thing about T. E. Lawrence is that he recognized at an early age, his ability to cause monumental change. In fact, read about him before you watch the film. See how a person of privilege, who seemed to be mediocre at best, identified the world that he would change, studied it, and prepared to enter it before an opportunity came that would allow him to plan how to do it. This is such out-of-bounds thinking from the rest of us. The rest of us, being those who are not the stumblers, are achievers of something, but probably something petty, something that enriches only us. Yet, it is rare to find such a capable person as Lawrence, who might achieve greatness for himself, yet he chose to help a people be great, and not the people with whom he was affiliated. In fact, British army generals and British politicians were convinced that he had done extraordinary things for Britain when he did them, but that was not true. He did extraordinary things in order to enable Arab people to reclaim independence that they once had.
Today, much emphasis is placed on technology, but what is technology without a human being to wield it? What was Lawrence’s small beginning? He rode alone into the desert on a camel to meet with a local tribal leader. If he could not impress the Arab, he would be killed. He hired an Arab guide, and straight away, he listened to the guide, and he counseled him like a father might counsel a son. The two of them played a game during their journey, each trying to be the most moral. When Lawrence understood that his Arab guide greatly appreciated personal arms, he gave him his pistol, his only personal protection. Already, he reasoned that he was not going to accomplish anything worthwhile through personal combat, so he did not need the pistol. Instead, he would do great things through personal example.
From a beginning of no consequence, Lawrence created a consequence when he stood up to the Arab leader just after the leader killed the guide because he drank water from the leader’s tribal well. At the risk of his own life, at the risk of any greatness that he might have done, Lawrence berated the leader for placing so much value on his tribal trappings and so little value on the life of a brother Arab. That was the small, but risky beginning of a great thing.
If you are going to do something big with your life, you must be all in. No one can find a flaw if you are true and transparent. Other people follow those who behave that way. They follow the sort of people who give meaning to everyone’s life. The key to accomplishing something great is to be a true leader, and to plan and prepare to lead. That is how you and everyone else who follows you will do something greater than yourselves.