Greatness Must Be Nurtured
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” — Lao Tzu
To awaken greatness requires unearthing your potential that lies dormant within you.
Just as a miner who goes in search of diamonds and discovers the illustrious mineral, there are many who give up right before they strike it rich.
Giving up does not mean the diamonds don’t exist, for those who keep searching will eventually realise success.
So it is with greatness. You must continue the quest to unearth it because undoubtedly it dwells within you.
This article embodies eight key principles that serve as the foundation to awaken your greatness. Review them as often as you like. Let it be a roadmap to discover the treasured force within you.
Don’t believe you are less than capable of greatness. This is the biggest lie sold to mankind. Greatness exists within every man because you are born in the likeness of a greater intelligence that knows little of producing averageness.
The greatest men and women amongst us are those born with some level of skill, intelligence, intuition, creative ability etc. They have spent years, if not decades to cultivate that potential.
If you don’t believe me, consider the passage from someone who has studied world class performance for decades. Anders Ericsson coined the phrase ‘10,000 hour rule’ well before Malcolm Gladwell popularised it in his book Outliers.
He explains in Peak: How All of Us Can Achieve Extraordinary Things: “For more than thirty years I have studied these people, the special ones who stand out as experts in their fields — athletes, musicians, chess players, doctors, salespeople, teachers, and more. I have delved into the nuts and bolts of what they do and how they do it. I have observed, interviewed, and tested them. I have explored the psychology, the physiology, and the neuroanatomy of these extraordinary people. And over time I’ve come to understand that, yes, these people do have an extraordinary gift, which lies at the heart of their capabilities. But it is not the gift that people usually assume it to be, and it is even more powerful than we imagine. Most importantly, it is a gift that every one of us is born with and can, with the right approach, take advantage of.”
I hope this idea saturates into your mind over the follow paragraphs. Greatness must be nurtured, cultivated and exploited until it produces results. Yet, many people give up when the going gets tough. Challenges are nature’s way of pushing you to grow so you may develop the resources required to succeed.
1. Stretch Your Mind Through New Experiences
The mind must be stretched by new experiences otherwise it grows stale and listless. Most people live dreary lives doing the same repetitive tasks, day in day out wondering why the magic and spontaneity has vanished. They become habituated to this way of life without the freedom to explore their inner genius.
Authors Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske explain in The Winner’s Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success: “Some brains are more proactive than others. One of the best ways to take your use of memory to a higher level is by exposing it to as many new experiences as possible.”
We become familiar to the routines of everyday life and miss out on what is going on around us. To compound this, every person is tethered to their mobile device wearing it like a safety blanket.
Inspiration is closer to home than you think. It was the late Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People who wrote: “We become what we repeatedly do.” To stretch your mind, be open to new experiences beyond your daily habits and take notice of life with determined enthusiasm.
Instead of making excuses for the way life is, mould it into something you can become proud of. Perhaps your greatness has been dormant all these years, or needs to be roused. I assure you the moment you walk fearlessly towards greatness, it will run towards you with raging enthusiasm and show you the way. It will show you infinite possibilities to explore your potential in ways you never thought possible.
2. Overcome Your Fears By Making Peace With Them
Become curious in the face of your fears. Investigate them, reason with them but don’t buy into the narrative they espouse. Don’t let it be a one-sided conversation because you have the power to your fears. “Fear was given to us as a motive to avoid physical harm and death. That is it. We are the ones who have perverted it into a tool for the ego’s protection,” explains Brendon Burchard.
The secret to overcoming your fears is to approach them with curiosity while observing your reaction. So, if you fear asking your boss for a pay rise because they might say no, what small step can you take to overcome this fear?
“Fear, largely, is a waste of a good life, one of the most capable thieves of presence,” writes Jan Frazier in The Freedom of Being: At Ease with What Is. Fear is an emotion, just like other emotions. Granted, it has a stronger intensity, but it is not intended to stop you, only to provide feedback on your actions.
Leverage your fears and you will discover the essence of your character. Assuredly, if you listen intently, there is a subtle message guiding you to surmount your fears. By listening closely, you come to understand the language of your fears. The more you know something, the better you are at taking inspired action to overcome it. Through a sense of wonder you’ll conquer your fears because for most people fear is a STOP sign. However, to the initiated fear is a PROMOTE sign, offering important clues about your inner psyche.
3. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
“You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” — Zig Ziglar
It’s no secret that optimal performance is gained outside your comfort zone. You seldom achieve success when you’re comfortable, because everything is familiar. There is little need to draw on your mental faculties when you’re in your safe zone. You must commit to taking bold risks if you seek to become the finest version of yourself.
To move beyond your comfort zone requires smaller steps to confront your fears, whilst managing discomfort. Learn to become comfortable with uncertainty just as elite forces like the Navy Seals are trained. It’s no surprise that personal growth is apparent beyond your comfort zone. In extending yourself, you celebrate your gains and accomplish new skills and emotional resiliency along the way.
That adaptability can work for or against you depending on your actions. If you remain idle, you risk rusting out, thus impairing your personal development. You can mitigate this uncertainty by reframing it as Stephen R. Covey avows, “Create an internal “comfort zone.” Then, when you get into the situation, it isn’t foreign. It doesn’t scare you.”
He is referring to creating an inner sanctuary when change overwhelms you. Within that space is the reassurance that what eventuates cannot disrupt what is familiar. Given life begins at the end of your comfort zone, what lies beyond your perceived security is far greater than your habituated environment. Life undergoes constant change and you must celebrate the challenging journey if you strive for a more enriching life.
4. Play Big In The Game Of Life
Play big in the game of life irrespective of fame, fortune or success. It is vital you honour your talents, resources and gifts to the best of your ability. It is incumbent on you to bring to life the best version of yourself regardless of your limitations. To be your best is an evolving process, yet the one true constant is that you improve without settling.
What you receive is proportional to what you believe you deserve. History has revealed less talented people who have achieved outstanding success owing to their commanding self-belief. Overcome your fears and push past your resistance. These two aspects alone keep you stranded because your life’s objectives become diluted, through the fog of separation.
Sacrifice is essential in any field where the prize is big. Nothing is gained by standing on the side-lines. Even time is a sacrifice when pursuing your passion. Those who play small, receive smaller rewards. Those who take risks with little assurances, are compensated owing to their enduring commitment. Life honours those willing to risk it all and play big.
You cannot lose in the game of life where lessons are learned and wisdom is gained. Success arrives when you least expect it, due to the hard work and tireless commitment to greatness.
Focus on what matters and allow everything else not conducive to your potential to fall away. If it doesn’t resonate with you, let it go so something better will fill its place. Overcome your fears and focus on what you can achieve. If you are pulled by your fears, you perceive life from a constrained mindset.
Trying to reach for the skies while lying on your back is not conducive to your potential. Get on your feet and make daily advances towards that which you seek. I urge you to think with the end in mind as the late Stephen Covey said if you wish to live a significant life. From that place you create an exceptional life using your talents, gifts and genius to serve others.
5. Discover Your Potential And Live It Fully
“Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
Every man yearns to express his potential through his life and work. The dictionary defines potential as: latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness. Potential evokes the impression of an idle car, roaring with possibility before hurtling down the road. It is the car’s engine and driver that decide the car’s speed. Yet, without someone to take control of the vehicle, there is little potential to speak of.
Regrettably, many people are held back by limiting beliefs, fears and doubts related to their potential. Left unchecked, these destructive energies perpetuate into a contracted self-worth. Whatever you buy into long enough and with enough conviction, forms your reality. You recognise potential within yourself foremost when you abide by your highest distinction. In doing so, it summons your dormant strengths and commitment toward greatness.
To cultivate potential, hold steadfast to move in the right direction, without becoming fixed on the path which leads you there. Potential must be obvious to the individual and is accompanied with passion and desire. Make it a priority to nurture your strengths since passion and enthusiasm alone only get you so far.
An indomitable will, spawned by inspiration rouses potential. It is through dedicated focus toward a vision or dream that transforms desire into action since strong aspirations alone are insufficient. Whatever is possible is attributed to the mind that can conceive it. The realisation of your goals and dreams are constrained only by your limiting beliefs. They slow if not halt progress altogether, because the same creative intelligence that manifests your desires, also gives birth to your insecurities.
The power to unleash potential is overcome by rising above your obstacles, instead of being defeated by them. Potential is clothed in: hard work, an indomitable will, commitment and courage. To take a contrasting view, I equate lack of potential to simmering water that never boils given the heat has been turned down on it. To nurture potential, form a strong foundation to harness those gifts and nurture them as you evolve.
You cannot escape your potential any more than refusing to inhale oxygen from the air surrounding you. However, how you use that potential forms the foundation for life to express herself through you. Your task is to birth that potential by giving it life through: dedication, commitment and inspired action.
6. Find Your Passion And Purpose
Your life’s purpose is found through trial and effort. Purpose is found in action, not inaction. Your purpose may vary and may serve others as you evolve. Be mindful of attaching your purpose to your career as evident when one is made redundant, or the company downsizes. Many people describe feelings of emptiness following an unexpected change in their profession since they connect their purpose to their career.
The notion you have ONE purpose remains a misconception. There are many stories of successful people who have found innumerable callings throughout their life. Equally, many people are called to their purpose, while others uncover their purpose when they least expect it. There is no prevailing formula for finding one’s purpose. The key lies in the commitment to action and perseverance.
One must stay open to inner guidance — by learning to trust your intuition. Seek the advice of those who have traversed the path before you by studying the steps they took to uncover their purpose. As well-intentioned as family members are, soliciting their advice contrary to your views may work against you. Another way to overcome your fears is to pursue your passions which embody your inner most desires. You must bring them to life and overcome your fears, anxieties and worries.
Your passions are connected to your greater self that is not bound by fears or negative emotions, but inspiration. When inspiration and passion converge, it is akin to a matchstick thrown on dry wood resulting in a burning flame. One without the other are merely objects, yet when brought together they can set anything alight. Passion engenders courage because you are driven by a strong desire to realise a greater purpose than your fears. Passion douses the flame on fear and turns it into smouldering ash before it burns furiously.
Your passion equalled with inspiration must be accompanied with a compelling WHY. It is infused with a deeper meaning tied to your purpose with an intent to bring forth the gifts from your soul. So the message is clear: find your passion and be fearless in your pursuit of it.
7. Live Without Regrets
“Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service and character.” — William Arthur Ward
Regret arises when you live less than what you are capable of. It signifies going against the tide of your inner wisdom, essential to your personal growth. Regret serves as a reminder your actions are not purposeful and a clearer intent is required. You must connect with a deeper motivation if you wish to live a life without regrets. This inner resource summons you to play bigger than what you have been.
Don’t hide behind excuses when life does not turn out as you hoped since you are likely to become a victim instead of a victor. That’s why you should be purposeful in your actions, instead of acting from a place of fear. When you take inspired action, everything unfolds according to a greater plan. The pieces of the puzzle come together as they should. The secret to living without regrets is to act intentionally with what is of importance to you.
If you are dictated by what popular culture considers important, you are not honouring your deepest wisdom, but following the masses. This is likely to result in regrets and uninspired action.
To live without regrets, pursue what you value most and fills your life with joy irrespective of what others consider. This does not mean your actions should affect other people though do not be dictated by what they consider important. People will disapprove how you live your life because it does not conform to their opinions. It may jeopardise their self-esteem since they have not taken action to follow their goals or dreams.
Similarly, people are afraid to try new things for fear of failure. When did failure embed itself in our psyche and stop us in our tracks? Failure is merely feedback, alerting you to something that requires more steps for completion. It should not impact your self-worth unless you allow it to.
Regret rears its ugly head when your actions are not aligned with your WHY. This is your underlying motivation clothed in a deeper purpose. Otherwise, you are likely to plod along and throw caution to the wind, hoping your efforts succeed. If it doesn’t, you experience regret and a blow to your self-esteem since you have not tied it with your intrinsic values.
Living in the present moment offers the opportunity to reconnect with what is important now. Life advances at a fast pace, it’s easy to lose sight of your inner needs until a major crisis appears. By then, it’s too late because the foundations that once held your life together have collapsed, taking your sense of purpose with it. To follow your inner intelligence, tune in to the voice of your inner self. This may be as: play, movement or any form of creative expression.
The child within wants to be heard. If you dismiss it because things out there distract you, you miss exploring what is vital to your joy and happiness. I invite you to look unfavourably on regret and live an intentional life. When you are aligned with something greater, there is no room for regret. Instead, purposeful action commandeers the helm to lead you toward a life replete with fulfilment and bliss.
8. Develop True Strength Of Character
Character is engraved within you and follows you throughout life. It encompasses your reputable qualities and is the bedrock of your existence. But character can be eroded if you do not adhere to your highest values when it matters. This is because it takes time to build the choices you make. Habits build character. Your actions correspond to the sum of your character and are formed behind closed doors, revealing yourself to the world.
Still, you must align your values with your highest good and the good of others, through altruistic actions rather than self-serving interests. To uphold your moral values is not enough. Abiding by those values so your actions are congruent is of greater importance. You must build a strong foundation upon which your character is formed. The person with a strong character is willing to upgrade their knowledge to become a better version of themselves.
True strength of character is reinforced by continuous self-improvement. You must widen your circle of development to encompass greater attributes, indicative of the person you wish to become. Self-improvement is developed through a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed Mindset, according to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, author of the international bestseller Mindset.
The Growth Mindset individual appreciates character is a transformative process that changes over the course of your life, so it coincides with your greater self.
Strength of character is vital to pursuing excellence and is not tied to success alone, but connected to constant improvement. True character develops when it is expressed, yet it must be apparent within the individual for it to be known. The individual must discard their previous knowledge in light of new information. With more insight comes more freedom, leading to personal power.
Therefore, character is an ongoing commitment to uphold your highest values. Character requires maintaining integrity, where you act in accordance with your highest values and treat people alike irrespective of their race, religion, education, gender or political affiliations. Integrity is the cornerstone of character. A crack in one’s character is attributed to being inconsistent with their actions. French author André Gide wrote: “Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.”
Those with strength of character are honest and trustworthy for they stand by their word as the pillar of their existence. Strength of character is evident in those who have self-control and emotional intelligence. They are in alignment with their core values and stand by their commitment not to weaken their principles.
Self-control is related to acting in a way that does not jeopardise one’s character or moral values. Building character is a lifelong practice, so a momentary lapse of judgement can destroy it, where it took years to build.
True character is shaped behind closed doors since you cannot tell a great deal about a man until he is tested. Yet, in solitude he forms the bedrock of his character and shapes it like a blacksmith forming steel. For it was the late Dr. Wayne Dyer who once said: “What other people think of me is none of my business.” It is the opinion of yourself that is of importance and the foundation of your strength of character.