Human spirit as Motivator


Papillon is a real-life recount of  an undefeated spirit. Viktor Frankl talks about “they can take my body but not the spirit that is in me”.

In war, down the trenches, with bullets zipping by, what causes a man to stay put?

No greater love than a man who lays down his life for a friend. Comradeship.

Mike Murphy, a SEAL, a Penn Stater, went out in the clear for better wireless signals, knowingly sacrificed his life to save his troop.

Human spirits.

Higher purpose.

Maslow perhaps touched on this by naming it “self-actualization“.

In War and Peace, we read about the Russian army defended Motherland after Napoleon had burned down Moscow.

Wounded bodies, but not spirits.

United Flight 93 passengers decided in split seconds to go down in style.

In 300, the movie, their leader retorts that (when aides brought up bad news that the enemies’ arrows would rain down and cover the sky) “good, we will fight in the shade then”.

Human spirits.

Each man’s history tends to condense in those few decisive turns.

Shun not the confluence of events.

In crisis, show confidence and judgement. When it’s 50-50 split, throw in the human spirit. The tie-breaker.

The quant could never factor this quality on their spread sheets.

They aren’t trained to identify much less put a dollar value on it.

But since time began, we know it exists. One more (aerobic) step, one more cold call (Colonel Sanders), one more pregnancy unaborted.

The Vietnamese eat from a common rice pot. There is always one extra bowl and a pair of chopsticks just in case.

I was at RockStorm last night (stadium concert). The other numbers were OK.

But when Noi Vong Tay Lon (Let’s join hands) was up, I heard a loud chorus “the wild is calling us to rejoin disparaged shores”. Old wine in new skins. The spirit of unity expressed in new genre (rock was first associated with individuality and independence).

In Hotel California, we hear that “we haven’t had that spirit since 1969”.

Human spirit.

Tell me it did not exist, too intangible, hard to pin down.

I will tell you history is made of exactly that, whether or not historians could pin it down. That which is unseen is stronger than that which is seen.

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