At the studio where my daughter takes dance lessons, there is a sign on the wall that simply says, “Be epic.” I suppose in this context, this is encouragement to be an exceptionally skilled dancer; but it got me thinking about all the ways we could possibly “be epic.” Of course, sky’s the limit; but perhaps the most important way we can be epic is with our character—to be an exceptional and inspiring human being, to be a mensch.
In modern life, we seem to be much more focused on epic talents and accomplishments. Maybe because these are tangible and universally impressive. It’s awe-inspiring to see someone win a gold medal at the Olympics or do something seemingly impossible. We cheer for that. We admire that. We like to see “the best,” and we hope that we can be the best at something, too.
Being epic in character is a different path (but not mutually exclusive to being epic with a skill). It is a quieter path with very little, if any, recognition. It requires a lot of time and contemplation. The challenges are much more mental than physical as you must have a clear image of the kind of person you want to be, and you must stay committed to that ideal, despite whatever comes your way. On top of that, most people won’t even realize you’re working on this. You will never win an award for it either. But you will know, and others will feel it; that’s what matters the most.
Think of the people in your life who are epic in character. Maybe you know someone who is exceptionally kind and welcoming. Or someone who is consistently an attentive listener. Or someone who always goes the extra mile to help others. You could be someone like that, too. Or maybe you already are.
Be epic in character. Be a mensch. This is the most significant mission of your life, and you will be remembered for this more than anything else.