The Truth About Mr. T

Posted: June 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

When I was a kid, I saw “Rocky 3” in the theater. For those of you who don’t remember, the movie portrayed the confrontation between the hero, Rocky Balboa, and a new challenger for his title, Clubber Lang. Clubber Lang was intimidating… he was thick and muscular, had a mohawk and talked major trash. He was a scary dude. For those of you who don’t know, the character of “Clubber Lang” was played by Mr. T, the 80s icon. I was pretty much in awe of Mr. T in that movie and I became a fan of his when he was on the A*Team… for all you young’ins out there, the A*Team was a very popular action “drama” on NBC in the 80s.

I had the chance to meet Mr. T back in 1994. I was working at a book store in a strip mall in Virginia Beach when I saw him walk across the parking lot and go into the store next to us. I determined that I had to meet him, so I walked out our front door and waited for him to leave the other store. When he came out, I shook his hand and we exhanged some pleasantries and then he was on his way. As it turned out, he was in the area to work with a charity and he seemed like a really nice guy.

However, there was something about that interaction that really stood out to me… Mr. T is REALLY short.Seriously, I couldn’t believe how short he was… He was still pretty thick, but he was kind of a runt, to be honest (if for some reason Mr. T ends up reading this, my apologies, I don’t want to be “dead meat”…).

Now, my point here is not to tear Mr. T down. Not at all… like I said, he seemed like a nice guy who was up to some good things. My point is this: when confronted face to face, he was not nearly as awe-striking and intimidating. The reality of his stature and his persona, when witnessed in person, was not consistent with the image that was portrayed of him in the 80s.

I think that phenomenon happens a lot in real life. Things can seem a lot bigger and scarier in our perceptions of them than they really are. I know that there have been plenty of times for me personally in which I am facing an obstacle of some sort and my perception of the size of the obstacle does not match up with reality. I think that a lot of the challenges and obstacles we are afraid to tackle are a lot like Mr. T. They may be intimidating at a distance, but as soon as we determine to meet them head on, we find out that they are not nearly as big as we thought.


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