Last year, two of my mentors turned out to be the complete opposite of their public personas. If it had just been one person, I would have dismissed it and moved on. However, seeing that both of them had the exact same character flaw made me take a deep dive into my own heart.
If two of the people I respected and admired turned out to be arrogant and inauthentic, what did that say about me? Was I looking up to them because of their positive impact on the world? Or was it their hidden narcissism that called out to me?
I found out that it was both those qualities that appealed to me, and that scared me. It meant that I was susceptible to the same arrogance that beset them and crashed them to the ground. My former mentors started with a sincere heart, but wealth and fame corrupted them. They began to see themselves as bigger than the people they were called to serve. And so began their decline.
The Bible says that wealth is a deceiver. Having an abundance of resources and the adoration of multitudes can make a person think he or she is God. The major lesson I learned from all of this, is to remember. I need to remember my purpose and remember my weaknesses. I need to build a structure that can check my power and remind me that I’m not God.
No human being is perfect and we get into trouble because we overestimate our capacity. Whatever you do and wherever you go, make sure there’s someone around who can check you. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We’ll all do well to remember that.