It was the American poet Walt Whitman who once said, “either define the moment or the moment will define you.” Below are two men: One of them is defining his moment, and the other is allowing the moment to define him.
One of them, facing certain death, has the courage to stand up for what is right regardless of the outcome. He has taken the intolerable moment fate has given him and he is not allowing it to define him. Instead, he is defining that moment, and in turn, the moments of his fellow countrymen. This man, as well as those like him, will go down in history as a hero, a patriot, a warrior. Years from now when people look back at his moment, it will be defined by his bravery and integrity.
The other one lives a life of luxury and although he came from humble beginnings, the days of hardship and suffering are long forgotten. There was a time when this man defined his moments, but today he allows the moments to define what he is, and more importantly, what he is not: a man of integrity. Faced with the opportunity to show courage in a difficult moment, he chose instead to act as a coward and acquiesce to evil. Years from now when people look back at his difficult moment, they will notice that the moment defined him as a coward.
It is interesting to see how two men–one an enslaved pauper and the other a wealthy and powerful leader–deal with the same difficult moment. And it is even more interesting to see that it is the pauper who is defining the moment, and the leader who is allowing the moment to define him.