Honor: The Way to Become a Superhero
While at LensCrafters I met a superhero -- acting as an eyeglass specialist. He revealed his secret identify only after we began talking about greatness. Although he wears a costume at times (more on that later) , he’s primarily focused on helping those without hope. His personal story highlights one characteristic shared by Greatness Architects – they honor others.
Eric Cooper, aka the Knightseeker (www.knightseeker.com), is an amazing, athletic and energized man who credits his life goals and success in reaching them to his mother and grandmother. These women were the Greatness Architects in his life and helped him recognize his unique abilities. By honoring Eric, they fostered his individuality and independence. How do Greatness Architects honor others as well as themselves? Three disciplines honor individuals and help them achieve greatness: 1) supporting freedom of choice:2) fostering strengths; and 3) enabling independence.
Ensuring awareness and disciplined use of our freedom of choice is one primary way we honor others or ourselves. Believing that all of our life’s outcomes are uncontrollable puts us at risk for learned helplessness. We give up and let whatever might happen, happen. Greatness Architects make others aware of choices they have and encourage them to choose. The simple act of choosing is immensely empowering and fosters a sense of control in life. At an early age, Eric realized the intersection of two things he wanted to do: write science fiction and help others. Every day he chooses to follow that dream. Greatness Architects know that everyone has freedom of choice and they encourage everyone to make a choice rather than remaining helpless.
Greatness Architects also exemplify honor by fostering strengths rather than focusing on weakness. Our society operates according to the premise that if we focus on fixing what we do poorly, we will become great. The belief that we can fix what is deficient to become great is called the “deficit theory of change.” This doesn’t work and, in fact, deflects attention from a strategy that can: focusing on strengths. Eric’s family helped him find his unique strengths and then fostered those strengths. Greatness Architects encourage others and themselves to identify what they do best and then find ways to develop those strengths even further.
Finally, Greatness Architects show honor by enabling independence in thought and action. Great individuals do not generally follow the crowd, but their independence most likely emerged as a result of being challenged. In 1987, psychologists Nemeth and Chiles found that independence develops more when people experience dissent or challenge. Your sense of independence will not grow if everyone around you is in agreement. Dissent compels people to examine their concepts and actually develop a stronger sense of independence. Eric is trying to change the concept of a superhero and hears plenty of dissent. Greatness Architects don’t just listen to those who agree with them, they’re willing to listen to dissenting views.
Eric Cooper, the Knightseeker, was encouraged by two Greatness Architects to become the very best he could become. They honored him by giving him freedom of choice, helping him identify his strengths and fostering independence. Now, Eric has taken on the role of Greatness Architect. Speaking about his book around the country, sometimes in costume, he fosters freedom of choice, strengths and independence by giving hope to the hopeless. We don’t have to don a costume to be a Greatness Architect, but developing our own greatness and helping others to do so one way to become a superhero.
The Greatness ProjectTM is researched and written by:
Scott Asalone & Jan Sparrow
Copyright © ASGMC, Inc. 2009