It’s this (pointing to his heart) what wins championships.
- Alan Iverson [Philadelphia 76ers]
That was Alan Iverson’s response, totally exhausted by his effort, to a sports journalist's question after a game in which he had returned after a painful injury. The high-scoring superstar guard of the 76ers professional basketball team, known as a brilliant, young, but self-centered ballplayer in previous years, had come back, still hurting, and given his all, doing anything and everything he could to will his team to victory. Driving, passing, putting up desperate shots for teammates to rebound, often not scoring much or effectively, but still helping his team enter the championships. The ultimate team play -- from a previously me-me-me kind of guy.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
So are the words of John Newton, once an infidel and libertine by his own account; the words are the beginning stanza of Amazing Grace, a famous Christian hymn about redemption. Despite the libertine ways of his younger days, Newton changed his ways, and spent the last 43 years of his life preaching the gospel.
There are two meanings to the phrase Amazing Grace: 1) the forgiveness of God and 2) the ability of some people to show amazing gracefulness.
If you are familiar with the life of John Newton, and many other famous people, you will find a very interesting pattern of behavior. The behavior is characterized by youthful blind hedonism and selfish pursuit along with great success, followed by a form of self-induced failure, often slowly and spectacularly self-destructive, often hurting others along the way, and lastly switching to a cooperative, soulful individual, rejecting that original life style of blatant self-indulgence. This pattern, which I call the Amazing Grace pattern, is the well known "Sinner-Saint" pattern of life history.
This sinner-saint pattern is not the pattern of all Christian Saints, Mother Teresa being a good counterexample. Mother Teresa, a saint-like person who never sinned in any meaningful way, at least from an outside perspective, always exhibited her temperament: a Guardian. Her own self-perceived "sins," are nothing compared to obvious libertine, carefree, hard-partying Artisans. On the other hand, the "sinner-saint," amazing grace pattern can be seen in other walks of life, being seen in sectarian areas of life as well. Whether it be Lance Armstrong, Charlie Sheen, John McEnroe, Muhammad Ali, Madonna, you name them. Arrogant bad boys or bad girls growing up. Of course, there are plenty of examples of brilliant Artisans not "making it" and burning out with incredible self-destructiveness, such as Marilyn Monroe, Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison, or the simple fizzling and dissipating out as with Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, or Mickey Mantle. And lastly, there are also many in the throws of this process where we don't know the outcome.
What does this pattern represent? Is it that these people change their temperament from "bad" Artisan to a "good" Guardian? Or does this represent a "bad" or immature Idealist changing to a "good Idealist." The answer is no, this pattern represents a classic case of the talented Artisan growing up and learning how to use his or her Artisan talents and interests to good or morally sanctioned uses, with failure and learning along the way. The fall from greatness to the depths of self-destructiveness and back again is a familiar story the Artisan temperament style and truly a story of amazing grace. "Grace" being the watch word for the Artisan and "amazing" to characterize the brilliant ones. The extremes of this story show the Artisan at the best and their worst -- like Pablo Picasso and Oscar Wilde, and less extreme cases such as Lance Armstrong (Its Not About the Bike) should be an inspiration to us all.
to be continued...