By: Jenkins Ebiware Jr
In challenging times like what we’re all facing now, it can be testing to think that there is greatness in the world, or yourself. You can find greatness everywhere, and if you wanted to create a list of great people, it would be endless. But what exactly makes a person great? What unique qualities do they possess that others don’t? Are some people just born to do great things? The truth is, there is no mysterious code or magic recipe for greatness. If you believe in destiny or fate, it’s not destiny or fate that makes some people reach their goals, their ambitions, and not others.
“You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” - Zig Ziglar.
Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Shakespeare, and Leonardo da Vinci; what do they all have in common? The first thought that comes to mind is that they are “greats”; great leaders, great inventors, and great artists. They aren’t great because they’re famous. It’s their greatness that has made them famous.
The potential for greatness exists in every. Single. Person.
Today you’ll learn exactly what greatness is and what it isn’t so you can start on your path towards being great both personally and professionally.
What Greatness Is
Defining exactly what greatness is can be tricky. For example, what do Bill Gates, Picasso, and Marilyn Monroe have in common? Not much, except that they have left a unique legacy that has made them household names. One could argue that they are icons because they were exceptionally high at what they did. Or that they were pioneers who succeeded by swimming against the current.
There are millions of people out there who aren’t pioneers and disruptors, who are also great. These are the great mothers and fathers, the great friends and mentors, the great first responders and healthcare workers, and many others who leave an imprint on their immediate circle. Yet, the world knows nothing about them and wouldn’t consider them great by today’s standards.
Greatness is a curious cocktail that’s hard to define in specific words. And yet, we all recognize greatness when we see it. Perhaps the definition will be more precise if we start by defining what greatness is NOT.
Greatness Is Not Fame
Hitler, Stalin, and Osama Bin Laden are three of the most famous names on the planet. Still, no one (except for some crackpots) would consider them 'great.' Being famous - or in the case of these names, infamous - is not a criterion for greatness. However, greatness can bring great fame, and the example of this are endless.
Greatness Is Not Wealth
Many people think that being wealthy must mean that they are a great person, or have reached greatness. That statement isn’t necessarily true. Pursuing wealth for the sake of being wealthy makes someone anything but great, as it can bring out some pretty horrible qualities, and lead to some unethical actions. Greatness is not measured by how many millions or billions of dollars. Greatness can bring great wealth, but never the other way around.
Let’s take Elon Musk, for example. Love him or hate him as a businessman. We must agree that he is excellent in his original profession as an inventor. It’s not his wealth that makes him great, but his great mind, vision, and willingness to push the boundaries of innovation. This is what has allowed him to build the colossal business empire he has today
Greatness Is Not Physical Strength
Take a look at Ghandi and Mother Theresa, and you’ll see that greatness doesn’t come from physical strength. However, both Ghandi and Mother Theresa had a fantastic strength of character, which is one of the qualities that made them great.
The true definition of greatness is achieving what you choose to accomplish with passion, excellence, and integrity. This is a great definition as it applies to you, in whatever aspect of the life you want to be celebrated in. Greatness means being a master at achieving your goals, whether big or small.
We all want to be great at something. None of us willingly choose to be mediocre. The longing and desire for greatness is a need within every one of us. The biggest misconception I’ve seen in conversations with people is that many don’t think they were born for greatness. Many believe that greatness is a quality that a very few unique people are blessed with. We look at people like Oprah Winfrey or Mark Zuckerberg with awe and wonder, “What’s their secret?”
The secret is a simple set of qualities that you can learn to develop. These qualities interact and fuse, allowing you to create your greatness in whatever you choose to do. It doesn’t have to be something world-changing either. It just has to be life-changing for you.
The Bottom Line
You may want to be a great parent, a great partner, have a great career or build a great business. You may want to become a great advocate for a cause that you’re passionate about. And if you're going to reach higher and change the world - by all means, go for it! Whatever measure of greatness you want to achieve, you already possess the traits to be great and impact the world around you. You have to learn how to harness them so you can fulfill your calling.
A great start to finding your greatness is a short video I’d like to invite you to watch called Planning for Success. In this video, we’ll be talking about the things that hold a lot of people back from taking that first step. We’ll help you reveal your motivation and how to recognize opportunities that will make a difference in what you want to achieve. We’ll also give you an answer on the best way to link a goal you have to specific actions you have to take to achieve it.
WATCH: PLANNING FOR SUCCESS