I know. No posts since Christmas. I did it on purpose.
John is 20. He lives with his parents in his upstairs room, has a girlfriend who cares for him, and works for his parents company. He has a fairly remedial role in the company, but he has no desire to move up. John’s life is fairly stagnant. The last big event in his life was when he graduated from college, and with the exception of maybe moving out of his house with a friend, he doesn’t anticipate to much of a change, nor does he want to.
The facade of comfort and security must voluntarily be lifted periodically, else complacency makes the transition from harmless enjoyment to inevitable disaster. Situations, no matter how “rock solid” rarely remain stagnant, and unless one is comfortable with discomfort or is on an uncomfortable path towards avoidance, sharp transitions are likely met with ineffectiveness.
John’s world underwent a sharp transition when his father abandoned his family and the family business. Within the period of two days, a family climbing their way into financial security was forced to face the fact that a trusted loved one had worked against them and that their source of income was in jeopardy. John, who had never made any business decision in his life, found himself running a $2million (in assets) business in order to keep his family financially secure.
Some say that “men are either born great or have greatness thrust upon them.” I would disagree. I believe that people either carve their own paths to greatness or train themselves for when the opportunity to be great arises. Greatness is a characteristic that is influenced just as much by experience as it is character and charisma. It’s the ability to not be caught off guard when a drastic life changing event takes place, or at least not so off guard that one is rendered ineffective. It’s the ability to persevere in the most dismal of situations. It’s also the courage to go out of the way to make an uncomfortable change in order to benefit yourself or a greater cause.
John has half of the faculties that contribute to greatness already. It may be enough to set him on that path. It may not be enough. Even though possession of more of those faculties that contribute to greatness makes its achievement more likely, time is the ultimate judge of who is great.
It would be impractical of me to aspire to greatness as a new year’s resolution. Rather, I would work toward the tenants of greatness that can be worked on and search within myself for those that cannot. Whether or not I am perceived as great is irrelevant, as I believe those faculties which make greatness possible are more desirable than greatness itself.