The program Entertainment Tonight has this rage-inducing habit of teasing the audience with ”explosive new details” on, say, Lindsay Lohan – only to reveal in the last thirty seconds of the show that Lins blew a tire on the way to jail. To be honest, they may’ve stopped doing this years ago, right about the time I summoned the self-restraint to stop watching. I don’t care how MILF-y Mary Hart is, I cannot watch – that gimmick is as infuriating as it is anticlimactic. That said, it occurred to me as soon I as I hit “Publish” on my last post that I’ may’ve done the same thing.
I was writing about four great men – Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Teddy Roosevelt, and Paul Newman – and how they were my travel companions on the rocky footpath to becoming a Better Man. I suggested their success in life was the result of a balance that comes from learning and understanding many things, a balance that is curiously absent amongst many adult-age males today. Sure, they may’ve been blessed with unique gifts, but they were also mortal: they had bowel movements, they occasionally wished their spouse/mom/offspring would STOP! TALKING! and they drew on more or less the same blessings of our double helix as you and me. Nonetheless, my “cliffhanger” ending suggested I had found the key to finding the same balance in life that they did. I’ll leave it for you decide if I’m Mary Hart or not.
Leo, Ben, Teddy and Paul (aka the Better Man Fab Four) were all curious men, so much so that they were skeptical about the conventional wisdom of the time, and often questioned it. They were also humble (in their way), enough to know that they could never know everything, and personal improvement was something that, for them, could never stop. They were ambitious, in that they aspired to be better, and took steps to bring it about. But the thing that made them great, that made them strive in a way that turned them into household names? Adversity.