It was billed as one of the most important decisions for America. It was followed for months, weeks, days, and hours.
What was this major decision looming that would shake America to its core? A declaration of war? A major peace treaty signed? A major economic policy shift?
None of these things.
It dominated not only the sports world but the mainstream news media followed the story's every move.
This most important decision, dubbed by the media as the “LeBronathon,” involved whether NBA superstar LeBron James would stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers, nearby where he grew up and where he has played his entire pro career, or whether he would sign as a free agent with some other lucky team.
Unlike other athletes who make such decisions in private and inform the press later, LeBron’s decision was announced with a mega-hype and a build-up concluding with an entire TV special devoted to this decision. It was beyond anything ever seen in the history of sports and entertainment.
LeBron James is a major NBA superstar, but did his decision deserve all of the mammoth hype it received?
Hype creates a sense of importance, excitement, and urgency. No one in the world is better at hyping something up than the American media. I once read a super-hyped article which I admit made me feel excited and passionate... about the international “Rock, Paper, Scissors” championship. I'm not joking.
The Inner Cheer
Living the daily grind of life has little glory, drama and hype. Real life isn't like the movies where appropriate background music plays as the events in our lives unfold.
How can we hype up our lives? How can we live life with more passion and enthusiasm?
There is no magic pill to take. Even 5-hour energy drinks only last five hours.
Imagine how much more stimulating life would be if we all had crowds, play-by-play announcers, and color commentators following our daily struggles and decisions.
The way to truly hype your life with more excitement is to become your own private coach. Encourage and talk yourselves into the importance of what you’re doing.
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin suggests creating an “inner mental cheer.” Imagine a stadium full of people cheering and wishing you well. When you control your anger or other character trait you're working on, see and hear that immense crowd cheering for you.
"And there he goes! He had an urge to criticize and condemn his co-worker, but he resisted it! He spoke calmly! What a clutch move! And the crowd is going wild!"
In this case, your silence requires as much skill as any professional athlete. It is a victory that deserves a standing ovation. Hear an inner voice crowning you with the championship trophy!
The truth is that everything we do, even the seemingly small things, has cosmic significance. We may not be the people who grab the headlines, give interviews, or have TV specials, but we are no less important than they.
With all the media hype, it’s easy to spend hours on things that mean absolutely nothing to us personally. We tie ourselves to their teams with the loyalty and enthusiasm as if we are the ones playing and earning the big checks.
Each of us is just as important as any celebrity.
A person should always view the world as if it is equally balanced, half culpable and half worthy. The world is judged based on the majority. If an individual does one mitzvah, he tilts the global scale toward good. If he transgresses, the global scale is moved toward evil. (Talmud - Kiddushin 40b)
Our decisions matter much more to the world than which NBA uniform LeBron wears.
Whenever we choose good, we don't only affect ourselves, we influence the entire world. If I am nice to someone, that person will be in a better mood and is more likely to act kindly to someone else. This third person will probably be gentler with another, and the chain keeps going.
A small man focuses on big actions, while a big man focuses on the small deeds of life.
The same is true for treating others harshly. A mean streak is unleashed, sending its momentum rippling worldwide.
If you want to really discover who a person is, don't only look at his heroic actions; rather, look at his day-to-day life. There's a Yiddish expression, "Groser zachin, kleiner mentsch – kleiner zachin, groser mentsch." A small man focuses on big actions, while a big man focuses on the small deeds of life.
To give up one’s life in sanctifying G-d's Name is a one-time decision, albeit a big one. But it is a greater challenge to live with G-d daily and constantly, within the small and seemingly insignificant events.
Four items require strengthening: Torah study, good deeds, prayer, and integrity in the workplace. (Talmud - Brachot 32b)
Rashi explains that a person must continuously strengthen himself in these areas because – being part of the regular routine – they tend to become stale. The only way to do this is to constantly inspire oneself.
Hype up your life by focusing on your “small” achievements, and by reminding yourself how important this is to the world – and how great you can become.