Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Path to Greatness

The Path to Greatness

Greatness is defined in the dictionary as: "Superior in quality or character; above average"

Average is the majority, or the commonplace, the usual. Normally we equate average with about 70% to 95% of cases.

Let's talk about personal achievements, like in music, art, sports, business, school academics. We hear the phrase, "the outstanding few". Why? Because only a few are willing to do what it takes to reach the goal. Of course we need resources, both external (like contacts, and money) and internal. But time and again we admire the achievements of people who lacked the external resources and still achieved something great, mostly relying on their internal resources of good habits (or virtues) such as mental toughness, persistence, patience, constancy, optimism, cheerfulness, the team-player mentality, the eagerness to pay it forward, the strong spirit of service, generosity especially towards those in need, etc.

The first step of course is to have the humility to accept that we all have defects and limitations. Then, we need other people to point out what needs to be fixed. Next, we draw up a simple plan to eliminate these negatives by developing the good habits necessary to achieve our goals. And of course we tenaciously and persistently apply these actions, and not stop until we develop the good habit. Some people advise a minimum of 21 days (or 3 weeks), and some people say you need 3 months to properly embed the habit in your life. As they say, be willing to put in as much or more than what you expect to get from it.

Let's not fall into the trap of choosing projects which are grandiose, or flamboyant, or ostentatious. Greatness is not made of these. Eventually the project may become well-known or even publicly praised, but that's not the goal we should set. Greatness is doing something in a superior manner, of exerting effort and excellence in the smallest tasks which normal people may not even notice. Before you even start thinking of a project, you can start by setting personal goals and try to achieve greatness in the following:

- developing strong bonds of friendship and love among family members
- starting and persistently continuing an Awareness Meditation practice
- having a reasonable goal of say, losing 10 pounds of body fat in 6 months, and in the process, not overdoing it nor experiencing "burn-out" which makes you quit, and permanently! The 10-pound loss should be a combination of diet, exercise and some lifestyle changes.
- learning a new language

Then, you embark on the practice and do your best whether someone can see you or not, whether other people can notice the changes in you or not. Also, contrary to what some people say that you have to fix your sight on the goal and never let go, maybe you have to rather set the goal intelligently, forget it, fix your eyes on the path towards it, have fun and enjoy trekking the path.


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