dan-marinoPrior to this weekend’s Super Bowl and before I had heard the news from any of the media sources one of my friends shared with me on Friday that his long time childhood idol had fallen from grace and plummeted down to earth with the rest of us sinners. As a young aspiring quarterback growing up in rural Colorado my friend (let’s call him “R”) had idolized and aspired to be like legendary quarterback, Dan Marino.

Despite never having won a Super Bowl Marino is recognized as one of the greatest quarterbacks in American football history. But it was his clean cut all American reputation that made him a respects and love superstar.

Feeling let down by his idol, “R” expressed feeling frustrated about what seems like just another example of the lack of integrity and unethical behavior regularly exercised by the people we admire and respect most in the world.

We talked about how challenging it must be for a superstar athlete, actor, politician or celebrity to constantly exercise the will power needed to resist what to the rest of us would appear to be a constant barrage of irresistible temptation.

If you have read any of my stuff on Strength of Will you know that there isn’t (in any of us) an inexhaustible and endless supply of the stuff. After making countless decisions about what to eat, who to call or not to call, overcoming a desire to go out for beers instead of heading to the gym and resisting the urge to inappropriately flirt with the attractive new receptionist our will begins to run low. This is why, after ordering the salad for lunch and saying no to cocktails after work so many “dieters” break down at midnight with a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

This concept gave “R” pause for a moment as he tried to build a mental picture for exercising the level of will needed to overcome such an overwhelming level of temptation.

“Seriously…I found it extremely challenging just to stay on a 3 day a week training program without finding an excuse here and there for missing a few on a regular basis.”

I wasn’t suggesting that everyone in the public eye who gives into temptation or has moment of transgression should automatically be atoned for his or her sins or that this strength of will exhaustion point is an excuse for acting immorally. What I was suggesting to “R” is that we should be cautious about rushing to judgment one way or the other.

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” That isn’t me and likely it isn’t you either.  We’re just fortunate that our sins aren’t publicly aired for all to judge.

But it does also seem like the “Blunders of the Rich and Famous” (there’s a TV show idea for you) are a good deal more monumental than that of the rest of us. Of course they are! Or at least they appear to be.  They’re playing a bigger game than most of us and as a result everything in that game is amplified.  When they play… they play BIG. When they screw up…they screw up BIG.

As our discussion began to wind down I proposed an interesting challenge to “R” –  a challenge few of us could meet. For one month see if you are able to completely clean your slate of indiscretions, sins, wrongdoings and “colossal blunders.” For just 30 days become aware of every time you tell a white lie, make up an excuse, have an immoral, hateful or unkind thought, cheat, steal, curse, over indulge in food, alcohol or drugs…etc.

In other words, using only the strength of your will along with any divine support you can find live as absolutely sin free as humanly possible for 30 days while listing and keeping track of any and all big or small transgressions.

Then at the end of the 30 days (here’s where it gets interesting) find a popular public place like a town square and confess your transgressions publicly.

Wow… did I really suggest that last part? You may want make sure there are no police listening.

OK, so the full 30 day commitment as well as the public humiliation parts of the process may be a bit too big for most of us. However if we want to gain some insights into our own daily habits, behaviors and motivations as well as the level of WILL it takes to resist a habit or something we may desire even though it is not in our best interests a modified version of this exercise could be very useful.

So here is my challenge to you: Commit to the “clean slate” process for just 48 hours.  Then see if it changes your perspective on Dan and yourself.

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