When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sandpaper. They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless.

When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sandpaper. They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless.

Bullies come in all sizes, varieties, genders, nationalities, religions and political persuasions.

We have all had those who have opted to find us in their metaphorical bullseye for expressing their anger towards the world. 

It is daunting at times trying to cope with how intimidating they can truly be. It is debilitating, demoralizing and can take a normal life and shred it to pieces.

When I was in 7th grade and walking home one day, a group of four kids stopped me and pinned me against the fence of St. Mel’s. the local Catholic School that I walked by every day, and enabled the smallest of the four (Keith Whitehead) to kick me and punch me and call me names. He lived 7 houses down the street from me. I did not know how to fight, I had no siblings growing up and had never been in a fight per se (except for Jackie Roberts, who hit me with a metal cap gun when I was 4, but that’s another story).

I was so terrified by these bullies, that I was mortified to walk home every day. So I would run through the area that I thought I might encounter them. I found back streets on which to travel to avoid the prospect of running into them again. I was incredibly scared, unhappy and wanted to move to a new neighborhood and leave my friends and life behind. That lasted through most of 7th grade.

Flash forward 32 years from that experience and I started taking karate lessons. Flash forward another 13 years and I was a second degree blackbelt. Flash forward another 2 years past that, and I was at the high school reunion. I had never forgotten what Keith had taken away from me that day. As the reunion came closer, I had fantasies about settling the score with a single decisive blow, as I had been trained to use. I wondered if Keith would be there. I am a pacifist and do not believe in violence. So it was just a fantasy, albeit a persistent one.  

And then, suddenly, I was at the reunion, and there was Keith. I looked at him and measured him up. Time had not been kind to him. He looked much older than me and considerably more frail. I had my mental fantasy for the tiniest moment of what would it feel like, and then, just as quickly… the whole thing had resolved in my mind. Score settled. Keith had given me the impetus to become a second degree black belt. Thirteen years of training my mind and body to do things I never thought I could be capable of doing. Training for my business world (black belt training is far more mental, than physical) had really empowered me in countless ways. I looked him square in the eyes from across the room. I do not think he even remembered me. My single thought was that “I am a peaceful warrior and I spared you tonight from pain and massive embarrassment out of my training as a zen human being,” and that was that. Knowing I could have settled the score and dropped him decisively to the floor in front of everyone was feast enough. And of course, I would have been arrested… so not the best of plans.

Life delivers you into chapters you may never expect. You have options in those chapters. You either rise to the challenge or you fall into a void. Keith had empowered me to realize I needed more schooling than what public school or my parents had provided. 

When you encounter something of magnitude that is oppressive, then you must work ever more diligently to emerge victorious. But never compromise yourself in the equation. Learn to grow instead.

Happy Wednesday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!