I remember 1977 and then the early 1980s very vividly. Those were the years when I came of age. There were other men that are close to me in age that grew up then, also. Each of them changed the world, and I am sure each of them, at the time when these pictures were taken, had no idea who they would become and certainly they would not have expected that every person in the world would eventually know them.
Above is Bill Gates in a mug shot after he was arrested for a driving violation in New Mexico on December 13, 1977. If somebody had told him then that he would be the richest man in the world for at least half his life I am sure he would not have believed it then. Microsoft was just a couple of years old, with less than 10 people in a small shop in Albuquerque.
I am a martial artist, and so was bin Laden in the early 1980s, when he was in his mid twenties. Martial artists usually exhibit discipline, a strong sense of honor, and deep respect for their fellow man. That’s what martial arts is all about. If somebody had told the Black Belt on the right that he would end up being one of the most recognized and iconic terrorists of all time, I am sure he would not have possibly believed it then.
Barack Obama was a teenager when this picture was taken, I estimate around 1977. He was a black boy in a white basketball team. I am sure he was probably the most unlikely person to become President of the United States in his entire high school. He had no idea where he was going to go in his life.
All three of these men are contemporaries to each other and to me. The circle of life took them into very different directions. Looking at these photos, and thinking about my own journey in parallel to theirs, I cannot help but realize that life is not what we are born as, and who we are when we are young.
Life is what we do with our time. We become what we think about.
Let’s choose our thoughts well.