Greatness—what is it? With the constant access to media, our phones bombarded with stories of greatness. Mark Zuckerberg donated Facebook stock valued over 2.5 billion dollars to local schools. Mother Theresa gave her life serving the poorest of the poor. We read in social media, watch on the news, and hear over the radio the heart-warming stories of greatness. Yet, these unusual examples don’t apply to me. I’m not in a position to donate millions or have the ability to abandon all my obligations for a life of service. I simply am in the process of becoming.
I realistically will never have a billion dollars to give to a worthy cause. My sparse bank accounts will not permit such generosity; but kindness, we applauded. We don’t need to give our entire lives to serving in a destitute village or donate a fortune for greatness. We give what we can from the depths of our heart. A kind person does kind acts. They don’t necessary perform extraordinary acts. Perhaps, they are in the process of becoming something great but in the mean time they can be someone compassionate and caring.
Greatness Takes Time
The rose doesn’t bloom in radiant beauty after a single day of sunshine; the bloom requires a succession of growth-supporting days. The rose grows and expresses its beauty only after sufficient nourishment allows for the flower to achieve its biological design. A kind character isn’t a single act but the culmination of continued acts. We smile; we help; we love. In this way, we fulfill our potential.
“Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.”~Robert Collier
Rollo May (1909-1994) wrote “the self is made up, on its growing edge, of the models, forms, metaphors, myths, and all other kinds of psychic content which give it direction in its self-creation. This is a process that goes on continuously” (1994).
We Grow From Small Consistent Acts
We don’t express greatness through a single defining deed. Accordingly, we express greatness through a succession of small acts. What small acts have you performed today?
We transform, like the flower, from a succession of imperfect days that give sufficient nutrients to support growth. Our thoughts, friends, efforts, and studies all contribute to personal transformation. We don’t need perfection but must engage in sufficient positives to sustain growth to keep us actively involved in the process of becoming.
We Wither from Small Toxic Behaviors
When our lives indulge in personal gratifications, momentary amusements, and selfish pursuits, we strangle necessary ingredients for growth from our environment. Starved for nutrients, our character decays, losing contact with reality and limiting contact with the truth.
Honestly ask yourself, “Am I creating an environment of growth or decay?” When we can clearly answer, we can know if we are on the path to greatness, mediocrity or destruction. Accordingly, we should look closely, examining our lives to see what it is we are in the process of becoming.
I choose greatness. Okay, well at least, I choose to be in the process of becoming great.
May, Rollo (1975/1994). The Courage to Create. W. W. Norton & Company; Revised ed. edition.