Our culture and history have provided us with some amazing heroes whose lessons serve to entertain, inspire, teach, and empower. Greek Mythology, the Bible, and even modern comics tell similar tales of heroes whose fate is determined by a single weakness.
The Greek hero Achilles was dipped into the fiery waters of the River Styx to make his skin impervious to any weapon in preparation for the Trojan War. His mother, a goddess, held onto his ankles while immersing him, and as a result his skin was untouched and unprotected where he was held. His enemies learned of his single weakness and volleys of arrows were launched at his ankles. Achilles was killed. Today we call a single point of vulnerability our Achilles Heel.
The Biblical story of Samson’s strength is chronicled in the Book of Judges. Samson was able to wrestle a lion, destroy an entire army with the jawbone of an ass, and he even destroyed a temple of colossal size and structure. Samson too had but one weakness, his hair. Samson’s girlfriend, Delilah, was bribed to uncover this weakness. After learning of it, she cut off his hair. He was weakened, blinded, and imprisoned.
Superman, arguably one of the best known heroes in modern culture, could fly, possessed enormous strength, had x-ray vision, shot heat-beams from his eyes, and bullets literally bounced off his skin. Superman, however, also had one weakness; kryptonite, a chunk of his home planet. When Superman came near the substance he would drop to his knees and become helpless.
Perhaps you are like me and your weakness is more likely procrastination than a meteorite from an alien world, a third piece of apple pie than an enemy’s arrow, or an over-reaction than a monumental loss of strength from a bad haircut. Still, it is to our advantage and surely our responsibility to know what our weaknesses are and to guard against them.
We simply must take inventory of our weaknesses if we are to improve ourselves. Sadly, there are many that find little or no fault with their lives, and are one day suddenly blindsided. They are content by comparing themselves with only those who have worse faults. You can exercise for hours each day, but you won’t see results until you overcome your desire to eat an entire chocolate cake for breakfast every morning. With self improvement comes self discipline, and another great benefit is, as we focus on improvement in one area, we gradually improve in several.
So, do you know your weakness? If not, how can you and your loved ones protect you from them? Each year I undergo a complete physical to protect myself from illness. I do it as much for my family as I do for myself. Shouldn’t we do the same for all of the important areas in our lives? Stand guard to attacks on your physical self, emotional self, financial self, spiritual self, and any area of your life that is important to you by simply identifying a danger.
We have seen so many fall from grace in Hollywood and in politics. We wonder how people can make such blunders, but realize they are caught up in their own self worth and success. They think they are unstoppable. They become arrogant. They are careless. The Greeks called this Hubris.
We may not be heroes of paramount proportion, but we do have people counting on us and responsibilities to maintain. We must know our faults and weaknesses and work at improving upon them. We must hold ourselves accountable, share with a trusted accountability partner, and keep ourselves from those very temptations.
A steel worker knows his greatest vulnerability is a fall from a great height. He protects himself with a cable and harness, and works closely with coworkers to keep safety a top priority. During my eighteen years as a football coach we watched countless hours of film to not only learn of our opponents weaknesses, but our own. It is time to for you to take similar actions and reflection.
Let’s take a quick inventory of some possible dangers that might be affecting key areas of your life just to get you started in the process: Are there actions you take at work that could endanger your job? Are there activities in your life keeping you away from loved ones? Do you indulge in certain foods or drinks that are hurting you physically? Is there an attack on your emotions that you need to confront? Are there people you need to avoid? Substances that bring out the worst in you? Are there places you visit that make you a less than ideal individual? Do you have an accountability partner that you can trust and bounce ideas off to help you improve? You get the idea. Maybe these could be added to your journal or discussed in private. Regardless, they make a great starting point.
Once you discover your vulnerabilities you will immediately start developing a plan of protection and escape. It is human nature.
Fear not! Your friends and family are the ones who bring out the best in you, and they’ll be there when you falter, as you will for them. The greater the problem, the greater the hero, so if your weakness is great, then so will you be by overcoming it.
Make Your Day Great, Find your Kryptonite!
Kelly Croy is a chalk artist and professional speaker. His presentations have entertained and amazed audiences across the nation including corporations, schools, churches, conferences, and numerous other venues where people come together to be entertained and improve their lives. Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.