What is greatness?

Priscilla P. Wood ‏ @PriscillaPWood: What is greatness?


Pick yourself.

Too often we want someone to like our novel. Or promote us. Or hire us. Or buy our idea. Or put our product on their shelves. Or tell us they love us. Or tell us we are good.

You have to choose yourself first.

A lot of people say, “once this happens, I will be happy.” The other day a hedge fund manager said to me, “once I get back to breakeven I can start working out in the gym again” while stuffing some Kentucky Fried Chicken in his face. Or “once she apologizes I can be friends with her again.” Or “once I publish a book I can feel I achieved something.” Or “once I get this boring PhD done I can work on my true passion”.

Once this, once that. That’s a lot of one + one + one + … equals out to the rest of your life. Then you’re dead.

If we keep delaying our greatness with obstacles, the greatness will certainly be delayed.

If you keep repeating the same thing it becomes like a mantra.

The etymology of the word “mantra” is interesting. Its two words: “man” and “tra”. “Man” in the language of the vedic texts could mean: “thoughts, or thoughtfulness with zeal”. And “tra” could mean (among many things) “protect”.

So a mantra – or even a mythology that your friends, colleagues, family, lovers, whoever brainwashed into you – repeated with zeal is the way you keep a thought trapped and protected in your mind. It is this protection that one actually has of their worst fears that will prevent it from being unleashed until the future you once imagined becomes your present.

What you need now is to give all that up. You can’t control the future. And the past is gone. Start choosing yourself right now for whatever life you want to live.

This doesn’t mean “live for the moment”. But it does mean “use this moment to live the best life you can live.”

Greatness is when every moment you choose yourself rather than relying on the past or future to choose you. Rather than relying on anyone else in the world to choose you.

And finally, be very grateful for how great you already are.