There’s a quote from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: “Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. And some have greatness thrust upon them.” This is true to some extent. But for most great people, it’s actually a combination of the first two options, with the emphasis very strongly on the second.
Of course, in Shakespeare’s day, “greatness” was often equated with social status. In order to be great, you only had to be born to the right family. In today’s world, things work a bit differently. The people we perceive as being “born great” are those with an incredible natural talent for something, which they use to excel. But what we tend to overlook is the incredible amount of hard work that follows that natural talent.
In terms of how to witness greatness, take Michael Jordan. To many, he’s the greatest basketball player of all time. He’s won countless awards, set countless records, and was the most recognizable face in the NBA for the better part of three decades. His natural talent for the game, and even his height of 6’6″ could be considered being “born great” in the world of basketball. He made success look easy.
But it wasn’t really easy at all. Sure, he had a talent for sports. But it took years of hard work and rigorous training for him to hone that talent and turn it into the near-legendary success he’s enjoyed. Jordan failed to make his high school’s varsity basketball team when he first tried out. So he worked hard to prove himself on the junior varsity team, then he trained relentlessly all the next summer, in order to pursue his dream and achieve his goal. And it worked. The next year, he made the varsity squad, which led to a college basketball scholarship, and eventually his recruitment to the NBA. Some might say, “And the rest is history.” But actually, the rest is even more hard work, training, and determination.
If you want to know how to witness greatness, look around you. It takes all different forms. That couple that just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and is still in love after all those years: that’s greatness. The teacher who made the extra effort to encourage and inspire you and help bring out your best: that’s greatness.
If you REALLY want to know how to witness greatness, just look in a mirror. You’re following your dreams, building a business and making something incredible of your life. That’s greatness. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. All these forms of greatness take hard work and determination to accomplish. You may be born great, but you still need to achieve greatness. Because chances are, no one’s just going to thrust greatness upon you.