In my way of thinking, a defining moment is one in which circumstance collides with human weakness. Let me give you an example. For those of you who are parents, a defining moment was the moment that you looked into the eyes fo your firstborn child. I don’t care how many books you read, classes you took or seminars you went to, nothing could prepare you for that single event, and beyond it you were never the same again. Am I right?
Defining moments change the course of our lives. They are where our life’s trajectory is altered and we are muscled into a new direction that we never expected. What happens? We adapt. We change our habits, amend our ways, take on new things, give up old things and the cycle continues until the next defining moment comes along.
So what are we doing between these defining moments in our lives? What we are really doing is, we are searching for clemency. Let me give you an example. The last time you were searching for clemency, you were probably on the side of a highway somewhere in your car, sitting there with the window down as the air conditioning escaped, and saying to yourself: “Please, please, PLEASE let this man make it a 74 in a 55”. Or maybe you were praying as you opened the credit card bill that the latest thing you bought wasn’t on there yet so that you’d have another month to pay for it? That’s searching for clemency isn’t it? You are hoping for a lessening in the severity of your punishment… a punishment you are expecting.
If you sit back and think about it for a moment, you can find countless examples in your own life where you have been searching for clemency.
In my book Clemency, each of the divers crept along silently in the black of the deep seeking their reward and what they hoped would turn out to be their next defining moment. Whether it was to save the business, get out of jail, pay all the bills, or because they were the victim of simple blackmail, all the while weren’t they each praying for clemency?