“Greatness is just something we made up.
Somehow we’ve come to believe
that greatness is a gift
reserved for a chosen few.
For prodigies. For superstars.
And the rest of us can only stand by watching.
You can forget that.
Greatness is not some rare DNA strand.
It’s not some precious thing.
Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing.
We’re all capable of it.
All of us.” – Nike
The heights of our capacity are fascinating… it’s for this very reason our striving for greatness has become a fundamental human drive. To push beyond the limits, question the possibilities and possess an innate purpose to offer something for the betterment of others (whatever that be) energizes a sense of greatness in each of us.
Immerse yourself in the research and you will find no conclusion on the origin of greatness – it is far too complex to be captured in a single approach. Even how we conceptualize greatness is inconclusive.
What is “greatness” anyways?
The only conclusion we can possibly agree upon is that NO single, defined reason, trait or ability alone can generalize one’s ability to achieve or possess greatness. Greatness manifests in the interaction of complex factors which we can only make an effort to understand.
The power these complex interactions between variables of environmental situations, genetic variations or skill sets reside in each of us and the 24 hours in our day.
How do you choose to interpret that and what are you going to make of it?
“Athletic greatness” for example draws on a different set of abilities, skills, and dispositions than that of “academic greatness”. Even the complexities amongst a sport demonstrate that two people can obtain the same result but through two very different routes. Greatness is nothing but a word which we individually choose to define and perceive both in our self and others. Greatness is nothing more than our perception.
Great could be taking your first step in a mile or it could be your meditative practice. Only you define what great is and what you aspire – never be afraid to do that and believe the ability resides within you.
Must all paths to greatness require extraordinary talent? Is it sheer luck? Are you waiting for the opportune time, developmental circumstance, or influence of experiences?
Engage and take action in meaningful work and your greatness will follow.
The ability to be great resides in each of us.
Be your own kind of great – anyone can be great, anyone can do it.
What will you do?
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Written by Amanda Presgraves. Amanda is a senior Kinesiology major, Division I student-athlete and entrepreneur at James Madison University. As an advocate of health and personal growth, she’s on a constant pursuit to optimize life and inspire others through her commitment to healthy living. If you can’t find Amanda bouncing between the classroom, pool, kitchen, or volunteering, you can find her online as she continues to lead and motivate others towards a happier and improved life at COR through her article contributions, newsletters and community motivation. @amandapgraves, firstname.lastname@example.org, linkedin.