“There is always someone looking” is a good quote

Alexei Sorokin
2 min readDec 3, 2023

It’s a bit cheesy, as is the entire “Greater” movie I watched last night, but I like it. The movie is a biographical sports movie about a kid who persevered with his passion for football and achieved great success before being tragically killed in a car accident (Wikipedia article about Brandon Burlsworth here)

There is a good scene in the movie, which starts at 1.21.15 in this video:

The new coach is surprised to find Brandon, the main character, in the gym late at night. Brandon explains that he’s not trying to prove anything to anyone.

The coach says, “Well, you know what they say, Character is what you do when no one’s looking.”

“ There is always someone looking, coach,” Brandon replies.

I’m assuming Brandon is referring to God, especially considering the movie’s frequent references to faith.

I’m not a religious person. Agnostic at best. Often, I am outright skeptical of the institution of faith and religion. But at the same time, there are moments when I can see my heart opening to the idea of connecting with something higher. Call it spirituality. I found meaning in Brandon’s allusion to being watched by someone.

And there is no need to be too deep or spiritual about the idea of being at your best when no one’s watching. While I am not a fan of self-improvement content, I recently came across someone on social media who articulated well the most important strength and virtue: self-control.

Self-control can refer to many things, like having boundaries and being able to say no to certain things. It’s also doing things that you don’t have to do. Like in the conversation above, “Character is what you do when no one’s looking.”

Self-control leads to self-esteem. Knowing you’re at your best in any situation, regardless of family, business, or societal pressures or expectations is very satisfying. You report only to yourself and maybe some higher purpose or deity you feel connected to. You’re your best and only judge.

Self-esteem then helps keep the mind calm and display maturity and resolve in pursuing goals and dealing with life’s challenges.

Recently, I’ve started taking more pictures during my runs. Look at this beauty:

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Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day. https://runningwritingliving.substack.com/