I recently watched Alexander Hamilton.
Just for reference, I don’t watch much television, but I had been told by numerous people it was an amazing play. Jenn and I had some downtime so we decided to take a break for the night and enjoy some entertainment.
This was possibly the most inspirational piece of content I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It was so good that I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat for about a month now.
There are so many nuances to the play that it’s hard to delve into it in depth here, but there was something I’ve noticed that keeps popping up in my psyche as I re-listen to the soundtrack.
Spoiler Alert: if you haven’t seen it I would recommend you stop reading. I don’t want to be responsible for giving you any bias towards the play. Go watch and then come back here to get the full picture.
As you know the story arc is between the two men Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Both are orphans growing up during the American revolution.
In the second song called: “Aaron Burr Sir” there’s a portion in which Burr says:
“Good luck with that: you’re takin’ a stand
You spit. I’m ‘a sit. We’ll see where we land”
Then John Laurens says:
“Burr, the revolution’s imminent.
What do you stall for?”
When finally Hamilton says:
“If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?”
The entire play can be summed up into this question, “If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?”
The question comes from Alexander’s quote: “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything”
I’ve been going through this phrase over and over trying to dissect it and understand it on a deeper level.
There’s something profoundly true about this statement in my opinion. I’ve noticed it with many successful people.
They’re willing to plant their flag in the ground and say: “This is where I stand. You know my stance and I’m unwavering about my faith in the truth of my position.”
This is what made Alexander such a polarizing figure. On one hand he was an obnoxious and arrogant man who rubbed people the wrong way. However, on the other hand you could say Alexander had true courage because of his firm beliefs and unwavering faith in himself. He was willing to face criticism openly and take a chance on success.
He won, he lost, he was loved, and he was hated.
Alexander was willing to play the game, but more importantly, he was actually invited to play the game by others.
This leads us to Aaron Burr. You could consider him the antithesis of Alexander Hamilton. Burr was a prodigy in his own right. Incredibly intelligent with a gifted mind for warfare, law, and theology. He graduated from Princton at the age of 16.
By all accounts you would consider Burr to have been “successful”, but there was something amiss with the guy. He was always shunned from the game. Mainly because people had no idea where he stood on many issues.
People found him to be deceitful and flimsy with no backbone to stand for his opinions.
Most importantly, Burr wasn’t invited to play the game because he was unwilling to be wrong. He was so concerned with being perceived as correct, as opposed to actually seeking truth.
This all leads to the question of this article: “What do you stand for?”
For me the question has become drastically simple…
I stand for knowledge.
I stand for justice.
I stand for truth.
I stand for improvement.
In the world of complex problems, with complex decisions, these are my guiding lights.
I will fight for them everyday. I will plant my flag and say my character belongs to these ideals.
If you want to live a rich and fulfilling life, I recommend you ask yourself the same question and seriously consider your own stances.
What do you stand for?