As I travel the world and present my signature programme The Breakthrough Experience, I help attendees realise they have two sides that remain balanced.
I ask people: “Would you believe me if I said you are always mean and never nice? Or that you’re always nice and you’re never mean? You’re always up, you’re never down? You seem depressed, you never seem to be up?” They answer “no” to every one of these questions.
When I ask them, “Would you agree that you have times you are up and times when you are down, times when you are nice and times when you are mean?” They reply, “yes”. So inherently, innately, we know we have a balance. We have ups and downs, we can be nice and mean, kind and cruel, generous and stingy. In fact all of our traits are paired with their opposites.
We intuitively know this. But sometimes we can be fooled into thinking either from our own experiences or from other people’s perceptions that we are one-sided. And we can become proud and hide our internal shame or be shamed and hide our internal pride.
The moment we see only one side of ourselves, we are vulnerable and nature brings us events to help us see both sides and keep them balanced. Successful high-achieving individuals in many walks of life – celebrities, sports personalities, any high achiever – can be put on a pedestal because of media attention. And if the public and the person buys into it and assumes there’s an up without a down, a positive without a negative, a hero without a villain, the high achiever can be setting their own trap.
Many heroes have fallen and while their hero was a gift, so was their villain equally a gift
Our mind maintains an inherent balance, but our awareness sometimes misinterprets it and overlooks it. So the second we start to think we are greater than we are, our pride brings the fall. And the very people who built us up, the media, the fans, will be the first people to bring us down. What took maybe years or decades to build can be destroyed overnight.
It is wiser to have sustainable achievement by maintaining a balanced orientation, by not taking credit so that we get blame, by not getting proud so that we need humility. Otherwise we are going to have to hide behind celebrity walls, live in secluded locations to prevent the world from seeing the other side that we innately know is there.
Superstardom and fame can be the very source of every living hell. The public assumes that the rich and famous have a better life. But behind the scenes there’s always another side . . . unmet expectations, depressions due to fantasies and issues of internal self-image. So it’s wiser to keep a balanced orientation and continue to serve and remain centred and humbled, and not let the outer fame have to bring the outer tragedy to get us back into balance.
If we are mildly proud, we get low-priority distractions as a feedback reminder. If we are moderately proud, we get challenging circumstances. If we are severely proud, we attract tragic events to humble us. Decade by decade we see examples of this from sports personalities to celebrities, to leaders, politicians, athletes, superstars and supermodels. So as Nietzsche said, if you can own your hero and your villain, your saint and your sinner, your two sides equally, you don’t need nature to have to get you back into balance. Those who can’t govern themselves attract events to govern them.
Many heroes have fallen and while their hero was a gift, so was their villain equally a gift. It sets them free from having to be a one-sided person. It sets them free from having to strive for that which is unattainable. So when you meet somebody you look up to, know that you’re probably blind to their down sides. Don’t be fooled by one-sided people. And don’t be fooled in the mirror. See both sides within yourself.
I did a study where I went through the Oxford Dictionary and I circled every trait that a human being can have. They can be admired or despised, liked or disliked – traits of the hero or traits of the villain – and when I looked honestly and fully, I discovered that I had every one of these traits within me. I was kind at times and cruel at times, I was generous at times and stingy at times, I was open and closed, considerate and inconsiderate, honest and dishonest, sweet and bitter.
I found 4 628 traits in myself that were listed in the Oxford Dictionary. I realised nothing was missing in me, that I wasn’t worth putting on a pedestal or in a pit. I was only worth putting in the heart. Don’t put people on pedestals or pits. Put them in your heart. The super hero doesn’t have to end up being the super villain.