Strengths – Sometimes They Aren’t Your Strength

We’re continuing the Braveheart theme in this article, but this time we’re looking at Wallace’s big-hearted, loyal, strong, and rock-headed friend, Hamish. At the beginning of the movie we see the two boys throwing small rocks at skulls, with Wallace being far superior in his accuracy. On the death of his father, Wallace leaves with his uncle, returning somewhere between 20-40 years (depending on whether Murron is part Time Lord, or Wallace has aged badly), Wallace returns back to his homeland where he bumps into his old mate, Hamish, at a wedding.

Hamish drops his rock, there’s some banter as Wallace asks if Hamish could kill a man in battle with his rock, and Hamish declares he could crush Wallace “Like a wurrum,” (Scottish for ‘worm’). More banter. Wallace and Hamish get into a throwing contest to see if Hamish could kill Wallace, and the rock sails harmlessly over Wallace’s shoulder. Wallace picks up a small rock and yeets it at Hamish’s head, knocking him down and leaving a good sized egg on Hamish’s forehead.

“I should have remembered the rocks.” Says Hamish.

“Aye, you should have.” Says Wallace with a cheeky smile.

Wallace was right. We all need to remember the rocks.

Hamish, a brute of a guy who could likely tear limbs off a bear, relied on his strength, but failed to consider the objective. Hamish was taking part in a test of manhood, he had the bigger rock, so why not? Wallace was more interested in his objective – showing how a warrior can achieve their objective using substance, not style.

A big rock takes a lot of energy, Hamish, as big as he is, couldn’t spend an hour or two on the battlefield yeeting rocks at the enemy, he’d be tired in no time. But a well placed small projectile, well, a shepherd kid brought down a giant with one of those and became king.

The problem with Hamish is that his strength wasn’t necessarily a strength. At least, not a usable one in the way he wanted to use it. Sure, if you need big rocks moving around, Hamish is the man. However, if you want to take out enemy soldiers from a distance, Wallace would be a much smarter choice.

Here are the three takeaways for today:

1 – Strengths are great, and we should develop and use our strengths for success. However, we shouldn’t be deceived into thinking that our strengths are going to help us in all situations.

2 – Sometimes we can use our strength, but it’s not enough. Even if Hamish could kill a man, or even two men, with his rock. He couldn’t fight a whole battle with big rocks. Hurling boulders is slow and tiring. Can your strength sustain you for the whole course of what is ahead?

3 – Focus on the goal. We’ve talked about this before. Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution. Killing a man with a big rock isn’t the solution to winning a battle against an army of several thousand.

Hamish had strengths that were more valuable than big arms. Being supportive, honest, loyal, and encouraging are much better strengths than being able to throw big rocks. Sure, hoying a big rock has a lot of style, but being able to encourage others to win battles, that’s substance.

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