I’m fond of world history. Since I have a problem with my memory, especially on dates and numbers, the best way for me to study history is through various personalities.
I make a disclaimer though. Except for two or three, this does not mean I endorse everything in their beliefs, actions, and lifestyles.
So despite the limitations of my knowledge, these select-men stood out distinctively as my preference.
10. Abraham Lincoln. My father introduced me to this admired leader when I was a boy. This great soul who stood tall for the oppressed opened the door for me to read and study American history.
9. Moshe Dayan. A great military leader during the Six Day War in Israel, I’ve read Dayan‘s strategic exploits in a non-fiction book when I as a boy. Since then, he is one of my favorite figures in history.
8. Ferdinand Marcos. Kindly lower those eyebrows, but my Ilocano father has high regards for him. The truth is, Marcos is an undisputed strong leader who raised the Philippines as a great nation like no traditional politician did. I’m still interested in the positive contributions he has in the unbiased history.
7. Rodrigo Duterte. There’s no doubt about it, but this controversial leader truly loves the Philippines and is not willing to surrender its future to the systemic evil and narco-politics that plagued the nation. Pres. Duterte‘s vision for change is undeterred by criticism, even if it means internal cleansing and waging war against the pervasive evils of drugs and blood money.
6. Elie Wiesel. A Nobel Peace Prize awardee who survived the Holocaust, Wiesel‘s life story is that of compassion and forgiveness in the midst of humanity’s worst and capacity of evil.
5. John Maxwell. A former small-town pastor like me, Maxwell’s a classic example of someone who was faithful in small things before being unleashed to influence emerging global leaders.
4. Jack Canfield. A very inspiring author, Canfield‘s positive influence to retell the stories of ordinary people and make an extraordinary impact on others made his Chicken Soup for the Soul a staple for millions of people.
3. Tony Robbins. This great soul with a giant heart inspired me to influence the greatest number of people possible in my lifetime by bringing out the best in me and on others.
2. Apostle Paul. A brilliant follower of Jesus, I consider him the greatest Christian theologian who ever lived. Paul‘s inspired works hugely contributed to my understanding of the historical Judeo-Christian Faith.
1. Jesus Christ. Above all, He unconditionally loves everyone I’ve just previously mentioned. His is the single life who made the greatest difference in the world more than any potentates, presidents, politicians, pastors, and powerful figures combined. Jesus is the epitome of life and leadership for me, the perfection of humanity.
Human leaders have shortcomings and failures, but they also do something that make a great difference to the greater good of humanity.
I do not claim to know everything in the life of these leaders. In fact, for world personalities, often times, the information about them are selective based on what the historians, media, academes or popular culture would like us to believe.
But what matters most is this. Regardless of people’s limited knowledge and understanding of a person’s life and leadership, have they really contributed something good to the advancement of humanity? Only history can tell.
Likewise with us. Is your life contributing something good to the lives of other people?
Will people remember your life as an influence of greater good or will it be just a footnote in the life story of others?
Make your life count.
Glenn Plastina (c) 2017