What One Man Can Do “What one man can do another man can do” is a famous quote spoken by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the movie The Edge. This line has always fascinated, inspired, and motivated me to continue forward in moments of adversity. Fortunately, there are many people whose lives are an example of what can be accomplished. Although that list may be long, three stand out to me: Pablo Popovitch, submission wrestling world champion and my teacher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Mr.
Olympia, Hollywood leading man and current Governor of California, and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, The Head of Tibetan Buddhism.
Pablo Popovitch is not well known outside of grappling and mixed martial arts circles. However, he has succeeded in doing what not even George “Rush” St. Pierre could do by becoming the Abu Dhabi submission wrestling or ADCC champion. Popovitch first competed at the ADCC when he was just 22 years old; he defeated the defending champion only to lose in the semifinals after a grueling 20-minute contest.
He would continue this trend of falling short for the next 6 years, placing in 2nd in both the 2005 and 2007 tournaments.
He was submitted in each by Marcelo Garcia, who was undefeated since 2003 and considered by many, the pound for pound best grappler in the world. Going into the 2009 tourney, he would once again face his nemesis Marcelo Garcia in the final. The match was a back and forth war which went the full 20 minutes and ended with my teacher finally overcoming the man with 3 submission victories over him. My teacher showed that if you continue to believe in yourself and train hard, you can overcome even the most seemingly impossible adversary.
The victory at ADCC and more importantly the opportunity to see him train taught me about the sacrifice and dedication needed to become a champion. It inspired me to never be frightened by life’s obstacles as long as you work hard and never give up; you can persevere against anything or anyone. What would you do if you had an important competition coming up and they called to inform you that your father had passed away? Well, if your name were Arnold Schwarzenegger you would perhaps take a moment to reflect and then continue training for the event. Schwarzenegger did not attend his ather’s funeral because it would have interfered with his training. This example of a single pointed mind has always fascinated me; it shows me that Arnold is the kind of person who understands the sacrifices that must be made in order to excel in life. When Arnold decides on doing something, it gets done. He has won 7 Mr. Olympia titles, a record for the time; he starred in 43 films, many of them huge global successes, and won both the California recall election of 2003 and the gubernatorial election of 2005. These are the kinds of things that can be accomplished with a single pointed mind.
Whenever I lose sight of the many things I want to accomplish or find myself making excuses, I think of Arnold. I get back to work because, if an Austrian immigrant who barely spoke English when he arrived in America can accomplish everything he has, there is no reason why I cannot accomplish my goals as well. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is quite simply a paragon of virtue; I would be hard pressed to enumerate his many positive qualities; yet, I will try. First, I would place compassion, as it is the quality best illustrated by His Holiness.
An example of his many compassionate deeds is how he makes it a point to have an audience with every single Tibetan that flees the Chinese occupation and comes to Dharamsala, India some 2,500 a year. I would place wisdom as second due to the foresight and intelligence needed to say that he has no problems removing aspects of Buddhism if science can prove that they are wrong. The recognition of the necessity for change and growth in Religion is seldom recognized by the world, yet he, one of the major religious leaders, speaks of it openly. Lastly, I will limit myself to three virtuous qualities and place understanding as third.
When I read about the Chinese human rights violations committed against the Tibetan people, culture, and religion, I was appalled. Monks and Nuns were kidnapped, held captive and tortured. Over 1 million Tibetans were killed since the beginning of the occupation. The Chinese also kidnapped and replaced the Panchen Lama, the 2nd most important Lama in Tibet, in order to control the future of Tibetan Buddhism. All of these examples would make anyone angry and create in them a desire to lash out at the oppressors. Yet, the Dalai Lama saw the suffering of both the Chinese and Tibetan people and called for nonviolence and understanding.
I try to follow his compassionate example by making time for anyone who may be going through a difficult situation. I emulate his wisdom by not holding on to tightly to my beliefs and recognizing that truth is what matters, not dogma. Finally, I try to follow his example of tolerance, by not holding on to my anger and instead seeking to understand before being understood. This in turn leads to deeper communication and the possibility for nonviolent solutions. Pablo Popovitch, my teacher and friend, embodies the hard work and discipline needed to be a champion.
The Dalai Lama, my spiritual leader, exemplifies the moral qualities that I hold most dear. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the man who typifies drive more than any other does, has shown me what can be achieved through single mindedness and belief in one self. They do not have much in common; yet, they have displayed to me a man’s potential. Even if some may view them as extraordinary, I refuse to accept that there is a fundamental difference between us. Instead, I see them as examples of what is possible and live my life accordingly. “What one man can do another man can do” I firmly believe this.
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