To wind down last night, I sat and watched the trailers for all of the World of Warcraft expansions that have come out. I watched the original "Vanilla" WoW trailer, then the one for The Burning Crusade, then I went on to the one for the expansion we're currently playing, Wrath of the Lich King.
For those of you who don't play, here, take a look:
I don't know what it is about that trailer, but every time I get to the end of it, I tear up a bit. Now before you say I'm too involved in the game, that's not it. It's the implication that even with wisdom and strength we can all be corrupted. That we knowingly (or even unknowingly) place our will upon others when we speak or when we act. In most cases, we don't realize how we affect others by the power of our words or deeds.
The one line that strikes me out of that entire trailer is the phrase:
"But the truest victory, my son, is stirring the hearts of your people."
But to achieve that, you can only do it with the power of words and actions that come from somewhere deep inside.
How do you win the hearts and minds of those around you? In the case of Arthas, the guy featured in the trailer, his whole intent at the start was to save all of the people in his kingdom. He only wanted to save them from undead armies brought about by a plague. He started out as a good guy. Arthas was a paladin, also known as a holy warrior. He did what he did in the name of the "light" or for good.
How many of us do things for the actual "good" of those around us? What can you say you personally did today that was to no benefit of yourself, but purely for the good of someone else? What positive thing have you said to someone out of the blue just to make sure they've felt valued?
Now, before you sit there and have guilt or said, "I've done that," how long ago did you do it? Was it yesterday? Was it two weeks ago? Is it an everyday thing?
Those are questions I ask myself all the time.
Now, as young Arthas' story goes, he was in love with a pretty girl by the name of Jaina. She was lovely, witty, smart, the whole nine yards of a girl you want to take home to meet your mother. But you see, Arthas wasn't too bright. He forgot to give himself that same sort of attention of reminding himself what his redeeming qualities were, what his nutritional value was to those around him. He forgot to think of that, and in his pursuit of trying to save everyone around him, through a series of events, he lost the love of his life and he became corrupted and turned into who you saw in the trailer, The Lich King. As his father's monologue goes on, Arthas does the opposite of everything his father said to do. Instead of remaining a "weapon of righteousness", he became an agent of evil. Instead of wisdom and strength, he exercised hubris and pridefulness in it's place. He started out with the very best of intentions and became the worst parts of all of us.
That made me think hard. How often do I make sure to tell people that I'm grateful for their influence? How often do I tell someone that their actions made a positive impact on my life? How many times have I made sure someone felt valued for being themselves?
I came back from that and realized that I do it quite often, but not as often as I'd like. I'm an officer in my guild now, so I've figured out that it's doubly important that I'm going out and making everyone feel "at home" as much as possible when they come on to play. Just last Thursday I took a warlock friend of mine to the side after our raid in WoW, gave him a non-combat pet he didn't have and thanked him for showing up for the raid, that I saw him do this incredible move that only me and one other person saw, but it was the difference between his character living or dying. In his own unconscious move that was aimed at saving himself, he unknowingly saved the rest of us and gave everyone around him a better chance at success. He was surprised that I took him on-side to let him know that, but the truth really was that I was grateful for who he was and what a difference he makes to not only me, but to 23 other people as well. I figured the least I could do is give him a little something to commemorate his outstanding efforts and let him know someone was seeing the positive things he was doing.
There have been plenty of evenings where I've gone to gather herbs with my alchemist to make potions and flasks for my characters in game, but when I had extra materials and when I knew someone liked something I made, I always seem to find myself digging into my gold pouch and paying for a few extra vials so I can send off a little "something" to one of our other unsung heroes that shows up night after night. Last night, I remembered a rogue named Saul. See, Saul is one of those guys who's incredibly high performance/low maintenance, but he does love these little potions that make his toon a little faster, so I took some time, went somewhere I don't usually go to pick herbs and whipped up a batch of his favorite potion sent off with a little note that said, "Surprise for you." There's a fellow druid who just loves these little vials called "Guru's Elixir", he got a stack of those in the mail tonight marked "Refills!" too.
I may not be able to stick a blade into the ground and raise a powerful dragon from the dead to inspire people, but I think the real nutritional value of "winning the hearts of your people" is by making sure to say "Thank you" every once in a while, send off a card or a little something to someone to let them know they're thought of and valued. To listen when they speak, to act upon their requests when the request is actually something that is within your sphere of influence or control you can do something about. It's protecting those weaker than yourself, it's standing up for the right thing, it's all about how you show that the nutritional value you've derived from the people around you is being paid forward and you're doing something positive with the energy they've given you.
It's the power of thought in motion.
It's the power of words.
Go out today, fill in the list...let someone know you love them. Call a friend you haven't talked to in a while and tell them how wonderful they are and how much they mean to you. Remember someone who has passed on (and it might sound a little nutty to do this), but tell them thank you for passing through your life and being a positive influence. Put all of your negativity on side and do something selfless, but at the same time take the time to feel truly grateful for what you have and more importantly, be grateful for the people who are a part of your life.
Most of all, look at the blue sky and clouds and remember one thing...you're alive and you're here to make a difference.