Lessons from the Life of Robin Williams

Robin williams

 

Last night I was devastated to hear of the news of Robin Williams’ death. However, what saddened me, almost as much, was to see Christian friends writing Facebook posts about what we can learn from his death. Sometimes I think we have to be careful trying to win points off of tragedies. 

Robin Williams was a man I have always admired, despite his obvious struggles. For years I have watched and re-watched clips of him on chat shows and stand up; not even mentioning the numerous times I have seen many of his hit movies. He truly was an entertainer and people were always drawn to him.

So rather than lessons from his death, I would like to instead focus on lessons we can learn from his life:-

  1. We should always be transparent

One of my favorite Robin Williams interviews is from 2007 with Michael Parkinson. Although he entertained as usual I also noticed he freely spoke of rehab and his alcohol addiction. Although his death was unexpected, he made his struggles well known. As leaders we must have transparency in our lives in order to fully steer through the storms of life.

  1. You can always be the life of the Party

His life may have been marked with struggles, but he never let it interfere with his calling. He entertained and was the life of the party no matter what he was going through. As leaders we can admit our brokenness and struggles, but we should never let it get in the way of our calling.

  1. A sense of Humor always wins hearts

Many, many, many people today will mourn the loss of a complete legend. Of course he gave us Good morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doutfire, Good Will Hunting, Hook and many, many more…but I believe it was his spirit and sense of humor that drew people in. Sometimes as leaders it’s important to lighten up, to joke and spread a little joy. This will win the hears of many.

  1. Live with No inhibitions

In his interviews with Michael Parkinson, Robin just oozes confidence and you can see that he thrives off the attention of the crowd. He excelled in the spot light where many people shy away. To remove self awareness and shyness is so important to the life of a leader. We live with eyes on us, especially when on a stage, and while nervousness and fear are natural, they are things we must learn to shake off.

  1. Be a Greater person than you are performer

There are many great performers, of which by far he was the best, but there are few truly great people. Reading through the tributes of the hundreds of people who knew him it is clear to me that he was a humble, kind, generous and sincere man. Many commented about his talent, but all commented about his character. We must learn to excel in Character, rather than rely on our charisma.

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Life’s a Happy Song?

It pains me to think how easy my life is and just how smoothly I live through it. I have bumps in my own life, but rarely do they stop me or send me off course. As I drive around and I live my life I see people’s needs but they rarely unsettle me either. But as I think about the World I am slowly exposed to its harsh realities; to the suffering and struggles of people every day. When I contemplate the vast extent of the need in this World; I realize I  should be shaken and it should be difficult for me to live as I do.

I am learning more and more that there is OBVIOUS need and INDISCREET need.

Obvious = We see it & can’t escape it. It slaps us in the face as we live our life; we soon become Numb to it!

Indiscreet = What you can’t see; can’t hurt you! Hidden, rarely thought of and hardly ever considered.

In many ways our role as the Church should be to make the INDISCREET —> OBVIOUS! In the poorest area of our town we are acting to do this; first through our Thanksgiving Big Give and now through ‘Project Angel Tree’. We have identified 30 families (around 66 kids), in one area of the City, where at least one parent is incarcerated and we are seeking to make their life that little bit easier at such a commercial and expensive time of the year!

We are throwing them a Christmas Party; providing them with groceries, Christmas decorations and a gift for each Child. As I rang around and spoke to Parents I began to realize the difference this will make. It’s eye opening to realize that not all people approach Christmas with excitement and not all people expect anything special!

As I asked Parents what their Children would need/want I was shocked when a number asked for ‘sleeping bags’ or ‘diapers’ instead of shiny toys or video games. We rarely appreciate the NEED around us. We are blind and ignorant to what people go through! But we must learn to SEE NEED; not just blind ourselves to it. And we must learn to see the NEED as the CALL.

‘Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed.

Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.’  (Isaiah 1:17)

We must seek to make the NEEDS of this World Famous and we should Fight to do something about them!