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Monday, March 31, 2014

Moment to impress

It's been expressed in song and literature numerous times with slight variation, but the message is clear and profound when considered; our entire existence is nothing more than a moment in time.  Even for those who are blessed with good health that carries us into our 90's, or even 100 years of age, when examined against the timeline of everything we know our opportunity to leave a mark is a grain of sand in an hourglass, metaphorically speaking.  Meanwhile, in the dating world it's said that we get one chance to make a first impression.  If you merge the two concepts it creates the standard we should all be measured do you make the right impression to represent your microscopic moment?

While considering how minuscule our window of time is, especially within the context of an era such as the 20th century (arguably the most significant period of time in terms of progress), we should be more focused on what constitutes a worthwhile mark to leave behind.  In today's society, with most of America's attention focused on Popular Culture rather than current events, the honor associated with being recognized as an icon has been greatly, and sadly, compromised.  Fame and fortune, or in some cases nothing more than undeserved media attention alone, has become the fast lane to making a name for yourself and even being dubbed an "icon", but is such a title always deserved?  After all, the icons of history like John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., and more recently Steve Jobs, will eventually share their place in time with so-called icons like Miley Cyrus, or even Justin Bieber who has used fame and fortune to break the law and become a public nuisance, but will someone like Felix Baumgartner* be remembered?

*For those who had to look that name up, my comment about America's poorly focused attention was just confirmed.  Felix did not sell a million records or tour the world or make millions of dollars, but he did create his own moment in time in a single feat that lasted less than 5 minutes, earning his rightful place in history.

Gene Simmons, co-founder of the rock band KISS, will soon be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is also considered an icon, having achieved monumental success as well as fame and fortune far beyond the wildest dreams of many.  Meanwhile, he's spent several years attempting to discredit the contributions of his former bandmates, even calling them a "Cancer", making the wrong kind of impression to represent his moment.

John Lennon, arguably among the biggest icons of all time, asked us all to "Imagine" a different world, and perhaps his vision consisted of people who put more thought into the kind of mark they want to leave in their moment, regardless of fortune and fame.  I don't find it hard to imagine that kind of world, especially if more people were focused on making the best impression they can and striving to be their own icon in their moment so that word can mean something again.

In closing, I'd like to share a phrase penned by a 19th century British Prime Minister most people have never heard of, who I feel is far more deserving of the title "icon" than some of today's entertainment headliners, as he made a much better impression to represent his moment.

"We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace." - William Gladstone (1809-1898)

Now, what impression will you make with what's left of your moment?

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