Notre Dame the cathedral of Paris and France, where French Kings and Queens have been married for centuries and Napoleon was crowned Emperor in 1804, has survived an extensive fire. The fire started Monday night at 6:30 pm and burnt through the whole of the wooden roof, toppling the central spire before successfully being put out by over 500 firefighters.
At the same time on the other side of the world in the USA, Tiger Woods was celebrating. On Sunday he won The Masters, his 15th major golf title and had probably made one the greatest comebacks in sporting history.
In 2008, Tiger was the best golfer in the world. He could have quit for 1 year and still been ranked number 1 that is how far ahead he was of everyone else. Having won 14 majors in 11 years and ranked only behind Jack Nicklaus for the number of majors won in a career (17). Tiger endured a very public and humiliating scandal that toppled his career and reputation as being the best. His life and career effectively burnt to the ground over the coming months losing sponsors, his wife, friends and colleagues and more importantly his reputation as a clean-cut family man.
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Fast forward 10 years, Tiger is back where he started, winning The Masters again as he did in his first major victory in 1997. It took a decade to rebuild himself mentally, emotionally, physically and socially. He set up a plan, implemented it and never gave up having endured more than any average man could handle in a lifetime. A testament to the character traits that made him great. Having learnt from his mistakes and corrected the traits that caused his downfall, he is a now better man for it.
Notre Dame, Paris’ iconic landmark which took 100 years to build and was completed in 1260 will also be rebuilt as it has in the past. This tragedy and its reconstruction will serve to unite Parisians and the French in a time when divisions are high. As Notre Dame is rebuilt, I hope that so too will the spirit of France be reconstructed for the good of all.
We all go through times of destruction and reconstruction in our lives. Cycles of growth. The point is, what do we do when times are tough? It is our responsibility to find the energy and spirit within to stand up, to dust ourselves off and begin again. The truth is that it is up to us to create our lives, shaping them to our desire. We are the architects and builders of our destiny. What will be yours?