We are told that greatness is within everyone’s reach, that every individual has got an unlimited deposit of untapped potential sparkling deep inside them, yet, as with any lofty pursuit in life, its fulfillment comes at a price we must each pay to manifest our highest potential or risk having it go unrealized. Luckily for us, since we are surrounded by countless individuals of exceptional success for whom society idolizes for having left their mark on the world by reaching their ultimate purpose, these modern greats have indeed left us telling footprints in the sands of time. And by following their example, you too can actualize greatness, achieve fame for yourself and leave your own an unforgettable imprint in the minds of men. If you’re ready to begin your quest to greatness, you’ll need to observe 7 of these secrets nearly all great people have sworn by to achieve exceptional success.
(1) Be Your True Original
The Biggest Waste Of Life and Talent Is Wishing You Were Someone Else.
To quote Kurt Cobain, “To wish you were someone else is a waste of the person you are”. In fact, the world doesn’t recognize fakes, only originals. As a matter of observation, when you are trying to be like someone else, the best you can ever be is second best. While we may not share the same personalities or all have been gifted with the same levels of intelligence and talents yet it’s this lack of a common identity and evident individuality that sets each one of us apart.
If there’s a David Beckham, there’s an Obama. If there’s an Emma Watson, there’s an Oprah Winfrey. If there’s a Billy Holiday, there’s an Elvis Presley. If there’s a William Shakespeare, there’s a Charles Dickens. Look at all of them, they each stand out for quite simply Being Different from the other. Each believed in their own inherent worth and didn’t play at being the other. So what’s wrong with being yourself? There’re about 7 billion plus people walking the earth surface, but the odds of finding your exact clone are practically zero to a million. Why? Because you are like nothing under the sun. Sure, you might not have the same charming features as someone else, but you’re beautiful in your own way and have your own unique selling points. In fact, WE NEED YOU TO BE DIFFERENT SO WE DON’T CONFUSE EACH OTHER. From here on out, start being you and no one else. This will have you a strong personality which is the catalyst for a distinguished life. So accept yourself for being the way you’ll be already on your way to greatness.
(2) Approach Each Day Like It’s Your Last
“I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”
– Jack London
For most of us, the talk of death is an uneasy subject likely to make us shiver with fear. But we are all acutely aware that, like the event of birth, it’s the one certainty we can look forward to in our lifetime. Yet for many of us, it’s a cultural taboo we constantly ignore each time it pops up in any conversation. Strangely, the many who share this attitude live their lives in total denial, refusing to accept that their days on earth are numbered and they’ll expire one day. For this reason, they don’t approach life with all seriousness but are aimless, clueless, unmotivated and unfocused about fulfilling their true potential. Such people will never become great. The real greats of this world don’t deny their mortality as most of us do but embrace it. Because they are well aware the supply of time isn’t unlimited for them and as a result, they never waste a moment of their lives going through the motions. They approach each day of their lives with all earnestness, clearly outlining their dreams and goals and go about organizing their lives around them. And if they reach dizzying heights of achievements, it’s because their lives are always on a mission.
(3) Respect People For They Are Cogs In the Wheels To Your Success
The media is awash with stories of phenomenal individual exploits whose achievements are credited to their unique talents, sheer ambition and iron willpower. In nearly all of these stirring narratives, the recurring theme seems to herald the idea that success is self-made. That the individual succeeds all by himself – without needing the help of others. Not only is this conventional view of success arrogant and grossly misleading, it’s a real discredit to the supporting cast of unseen forces and individuals to whom these great men and women partly owe their accomplishments.
In any typical success story, there are bound to be a host of contributors who deserve no less credit for their efforts towards making the achievers dream a reality. All blockbuster movies have a cast. Great organizations have staffs. Even top players function within the context of a team. In this wise, no one ever succeeds alone. And who knows this better than these achievers themselves. It reflects in how they treat everyone around them. With kindness, respect and trust. They are absolutely humble and supportive of others. Offering heartfelt appreciation when necessary. Little wonder they get such support and command respect. Understand people are a cog in the wheel to your pursuit of greatness. Be careful not to take them for granted.
(4) Keep Faith with You
Remember the title to that 80s hit song of John Hiatt’s? It’s “Have A Little Faith in Me”. That’s a song many would now consider to be something in the past, but even so, its message remains yet relevant today as it was back then.
Ours is a big world replete with people of disparate abilities and circumstances. It’s such that even when you think you are the bees knees, you just might find someone out there who’s your upgrade. Given this, it doesn’t help your self-confidence walking around in the knowledge that there’s someone else out there in the world who might be more fortunate, richer, smarter, or even better looking than you. But that’s no excuse to lose faith in yourself. Almost all exceptional people this planet has ever known did know that they weren’t the most gifted, but they didn’t let this fact make them insecure but nonetheless believed in themselves and their own potential. And no matter who they were up against, they’ve always lifted their heads up high. They are the leading lights in their chosen fields thanks largely to their unshakable self-belief. To follow in the paths of these greats, you’ll need to get your self-confidence in place. Forget about innate talent, a healthy self-belief will unlock your “other self” and precipitate your immediate transformations from the ordinary to the extra-ordinary. Go on now and start rooting for you, no matter what.
(5) A Healthy Dose Of Enthusiasm Goes A Long Way
“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn”
– John Wesley
There are many outstanding recipes for unusual life success, but none more so powerful as enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is not only a requirement for success but the spark behind every drive for greatness. You’ll hardly find any exceptional individual on this planet who doesn’t have it in abundance. You might not be all that talented, driven or creative as a person, but if you can be passionate about what you do, then you’ll enjoy doing them to even perfection and reach mind blowing milestones. Cultivating enthusiasm will help you build momentum in life and instill that dogged spirit in you to stay put even when your dreams hit the buffers. Enthusiasm is a trait all highly successful people swear by. They don’t hold back with their goals but approach each and every undertaking of their lives with a burning desire, thrilling pleasure and an energy that almost knows no bounds. By being always excited about their involvements, they give it an absolute hundred percent attaining sublime standards in the process and raise the bar for everyone. The torch of greatness is almost always lit with the fire of enthusiasm. Start cultivating this important trait in all your pursuits.
(6) A Vision Is All It Takes
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”
– Friedrish Nietzche.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”
– Lewis Carroll
Vision and goal setting are two very important attributes of great success and these days, we’ve been hearing far too much about it. But what do they mean really? Are they two different things or do they go hand in hand?
The Cambridge online dictionary defines vision as “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom”. On the other hand, it defines a goal as “an aim or purpose”. While these definitions may appear confusing, both concepts are related in some way though. A vision is a “destination” in the sense of where you want to be in five or 10 years’ time. A goal on the other hand is the “vehicle” through which you get there. Goal setting helps you work towards your vision. Greatness comes with being highly action-oriented person but it all begins with foresight and been able to see into the future and plan ahead.
According to Paul J. Meyer “success is the progressive realization of predetermined, worthwhile, personal goals”. This means the achievement of success in life is never the product of some freakish serendipity. It’s not a fluke but an intentional goal accompanied by prior planning and followed up with prompt execution. Nearly all great individuals the world has known have borne the mark of exceptional achievement in their chosen fields, be it business, politics, entertainment or science. They are high-flyers in their own rights. And while they may have courted and won our admiration with their somewhat startling feats, not one of them however has ever been entirely surprised at their own sudden rise to stardom. In a way, their successes were predetermined since they all first envisioned it in their very own minds, and then went about ruthlessly putting it into effect. While greatness is within everyone’s reach, unfortunately, not everyone will attain it. It’s reserved only for the ambitiously visionary whose lives are on a mission. Those who utilize all their power of imagination to conceive a distinct dream, whether that’s been wealthy, starting a chosen career, launching a business, or achieving meaning in their lives, and accompany that with decisive action. In the same way, if you want to be great, start with a definite vision that’s in harmony with your true heart desires. Break it down into small achievable goals and wake up each day with only one thing in mind – realization.
(7) Celebrate Adversity
“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant”
“Great men rejoice in adversity just as brave soldiers triumph in war”
“There aren’t any great men. There are just great challenges that ordinary men like you and me are forced by circumstances to meet”
– William Halsey.
For those of us seeking the quest for greatness, there’s always that long weary obstacle course to be negotiated through. It’s a path teeming with hurdles at just about every point. While life might not seem fair when we run aground with harsh circumstances. Yet, it’s in these moments of crisis, when things take a turn for the worse and we’re so close to the brink of falling apart that we’re able to genuinely experience our moment of truth, turning an otherwise painful mishap into a life-changing experience. It could be getting dumped in a relationship, losing a loved one, getting fired at work, going broke or any period of intense suffering. But just when you’re grappling with the pain of your loss, the penny drops and suddenly, life lets you in on your biggest epiphany yet and you’re back on your feet, more compassionate, wiser, stronger, tenacious and seemingly indestructible. This is the reality for almost all great people. They’ve all been to hell and back at some point in their lives and were better for it. If they had to do it all over again, they’d choose the path of adversity over the life of least resistance, because in adversity, greatness is born.
(8) Find A Mentor
We all idolize and admire the superstars of this world but even they, have had their own role models whom they have modeled themselves on. In the early phase of their careers some were able to receive direct mentoring by apprenticing with their hero’s. Others who couldn’t, gained insights into their personal lives and achievements through reading their biographies. The great inventor, Nikola Tesla, apprenticed to another renowned contemporary – Thomas Edison. Warren Buffet, a man often touted as one of the greatest investors gained his knowledge of investing through insights he acquired during a five-year stint working for legendary investment guru, Benjamin Graham. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Co-founder revealed that growing up, Steve Jobs was someone he looked up to. As his mentor, he says he sought advice from the man behind Apple on a number of occasions. Bill Gates, the just ousted world’s richest man, may epitomize dazzling self-made success, but even he couldn’t downplay the influence of his predecessors in his rise. Bill Gates regards Warren Buffet as his mentor and has credited him for teaching him how to handle tough situations and to think long-term. Just like these greats, there never was any great individual who didn’t have mentors. They provide you rare guidance, wisdom and since they have already achieved what you’re after, they can teach you their secrets without you having to learn them by trial and error. If you too, like these great men and women want to follow the path to greatness, find other outstanding achievers in your field of interest and who will be willing to take you under their wings and study under them.