Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

greatness June 25, 2010

What makes a great person? The kindness and empathy of Mother Theresa working in the Indian slums? The determination of Mahatma Ghandi to forge peaceful change? The vision of Pierre Trudeau to repatriate Canada’s constitution? The inspiration of Terry Fox’s run across Canada for cancer research.

The common thread seems to be a desire to achieve a goal that is bigger than the individual. Those who achieve greatness touch many lives in striving for their goals. They are inspirational simply because of their focus. Others are drawn to believe in the cause simply because of the profound faith in it. Emulation is a natural by-product of a genuine, forthright effort toward a cause.

I’m not sure that many who achieve greatness aspire to it. They aspire to reach the goal they see and it is their success that brings admiration. Of course, along the way they must overcome obstacles, doubters, difficulties. Commitment to the vision is required. Many people have run across Canada without achieving the glory of Terry Fox. Many nuns labour among the poor of the world. Many politicians correct historical wrongs. Many lawyers end up in jail. None of these things makes anyone great.

Profound vision. Commitment. Success.

These are the hallmarks of greatness.

Do you have a single-minded vision that could change the world? Perhaps greatness is in your future as well.

 

2 Responses to “greatness”

  1. Julia Says:

    Not sure I agree with the success part. Lots of ‘greats’ do not succeed in their lifetime. Yet their greatness is indisputable. I agree with vision, commitment and would add selflessness, love, courage and probably excellent parenting.

  2. Shawn Bird Says:

    I just said that achieving success was a criteria, not that it had to happen during their lifetime. Sometimes it is death that brings success. Courage yes. Love (or at least obsession) for the goal. Selflessness I don’t know about, because the absorption required to stay the course can seem very selfish for all those around (like wives and children, for example). Parenting probably has very little to do with it. Awful parents just inspire in different ways than good or indifferent ones.


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