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 us a unique legacy that has made them household names. We could argue that they are icons because they were great at what they did. We could view them as pioneers who swam against the current.
However, there are millions of unsung greats who were not necessarily pioneers or disruptors. These are the great mothers and fathers, the great friends, the great mentors and teachers who left their imprint on their immediate circle. Yet, the world knows nothing about them nor would they consider them great.
Greatness is a curious cocktail that is hard to define in specific words. And yet, we all recognize greatness when we see it. Perhaps the definition will become clearer if we exclude what greatness is NOT.
Greatness Is Not Fame
Hitler, Stalin, and Usama Bin Laden are three of the most famous names on the planet but nobody (except for some mentally challenged crackpots) would consider them great. Being famous – or infamous in this case – is not a criterion for greatness.
However, greatness can bring great fame, and the examples are endless.
Greatness Is Not Wealth
Many of us think that being rich makes you a great person. This is false. Pursuing wealth for its own sake makes a person anything but great, as it can bring out some pretty horrible qualities.
Greatness is not measured by X millions or billions of dollars. Greatness can bring great wealth but never the other way around. Let’s take Donald Trump. Love him or hate him as a politician, we must agree that he is great in his original profession as a businessman. It’s not his wealth that makes him great but his amazing business savvy, vision, and pioneering spirit. This is what has allowed him to build the huge business empire he has today.
Greatness Is Not Physical Strength
We only must look at Gandhi or Mother Theresa to know that greatness does not come from physical strength. However, both Gandhi and Mother Theresa had an amazing strength of character, which is one of the qualities that made them great.
The bottom line: The closest definition of greatness would be the ability to achieve what you choose to achieve with passion, excellence, and integrity.
This is a great definition because it applies to you, in whatever aspect of your life you choose to be great. Greatness means being a master at achieving your goals, whether they are big or small.
The following chapters will discuss each of the 7 qualities you need to cultivate and how to develop them. They are not God-given talents or genetic traits that certain people exclusively possess. They are habits and mindsets that you can learn and adapt. All it takes is resolve and practice.
You already possess some of these traits but just haven’t harnessed them properly. So, read on and discover how to master your greatness!