In this age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and whatever other social mediums we are using these days; everybody wants you to subscribe to or follow them. But, my question to everyone is, “What are you doing that is so special that I or anyone else should tag along for the ride?” Are you being productive and helping to build meaning within peoples’ lives? Or do you just want everyone to know where you are and what possessions you have? No matter what you are doing, whether it is putting pictures on the web (If you are doing that, believe me somebody’s watching, but that’s another topic to be written about) or simply walking down the street, somebody’s watching!
Here in D.C. we have a metro train that will take you in four directions within the city: Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. I live in Southeast D.C., Congress Heights to be exact, which is off of the green line. The Congress Heights metro station has five escalators and one set of steps. There are one hundred and six steps total. I know this because I have counted them. I take the steps instead of the escalator. I also run these steps for a good cardio/ leg workout.
One day as I was leaving the station and taking my usual climb up the steps, I made it about one flight up and then I heard a lady say, “Oh, so you’re going to take the steps too?” I looked back and to my surprise I saw a young bull running up the steps behind me. He was watching me and wanted to hit the steps himself. In my mind, I thought, “WORD!” So I continued my climb, while constantly shouting words of encouragement to him. As we arrived to the top, he was out of breath; he was huffing and puffing. But I shook his hand and introduced myself to him as Mr. Cliff (Yeah, I know I’m considered a mister these days. I’m old right.) Then, I told him how well of a job he had just done. I asked him his name, which was Machiavelli. I also asked him if he noticed how his hard work and dedication lead him to the top (a life metaphor/ lesson). He continued to huff and puff all while looking so happy like he just accomplished a goal that he had set out years ago, in which he may have. He was watching me do something that he really may have wanted to do for years, but other people may have discouraged him. I waited for his mother to get the top and then I told her how strong her son was.
From this one encounter, Machiavelli might choose the steps every day for the rest of his life now. A choice that could lead him to be stronger than his peers. A choice that if he chooses to play a sport, he’ll be running, thinking and maneuvering faster than his counterparts. A choice that will increase his health and in doing so, will also increase his lifespan. The choice he made that day, will surely affect his tomorrow.
This kid unknowingly inspired me to keep doing what I am doing. He didn’t know that I walk or run those steps, not solely for personal benefit, but to also hopefully encourage others to do the same. He didn’t know that he gave me hope for the future and that if I continue to be positive, that positivity will eventually spread to someone else. When you see a ray of light in a world full of darkness, it really pushes you forward with the hope that a better day will come.
I don’t write these things with the hopes that you, the reader become a follower of me. I pray that you become a leader. I pray that I have planted a seed of inspiration and courage within you to dare to be different. I mean to really be different. Try being untrendy. Go in the opposite direction of the crowd. It will be a struggle to get to the other side when you’re weaving through people; being pushed and pulled in every other direction. But when you do get to the other side, you will be in a lane all to yourself. Just know that somebody saw you going in the right direction. The people who saw you and have the balls to not fill the status quo, will actually turn around and go in the direction you have traveled. That’s what real leaders do and you my friend have just become one.
Again I ask, “If I or anyone else were to be watching you, where would you lead us?”
Let me know by leaving a comment below. Thanks for reading and continue to shine bright for the world to see.