The idea of being great and living a life of greatness is like a shiny glazed donut.
Tantalizing. Tasty. But, possessing no real nutritional value with a suspicious hole right in the middle of it.
It’s like a toy remote control car. Zippy and fun. But, without the strength or endurance to sustain someone on any real journey.
If you haven’t already, check out 50 Shades of Great – Part 1 where I chew up and spit out this idea of living a life of greatness like an old piece of flavourless gum.
I was striving for this blurred, fuzzy vision of greatness and I found myself focused more on the idea itself…
And, in the process forsaking the living out of elements loaded with the potential to lead to actual circumstances of greatness.
Well, things such as practicing the glories of gratefulness and the pursuit of genuine enjoyment.
Perhaps, a celebration for others and their innate greatness from which, I could also become immensely enriched!
(The list of elements goes on – feel free to help me compile a list in the comment section!)
As an adjective, i.e. “I have a great life/a great spouse/a great house/He’s a great person” – I get it. It works.
But, as a broader concept when we want to be “destined for great things” and “live a life of greatness” – I’m curious to find out what you think about when you hear these phrases.
And, how it makes you feel.
Do you feel confused or infused with energy to aspire to it?
Do you feel scintillated by it or cruelly teased?
And, what is “it”? And, is “it” the same for everyone?
I would also like to point out that these phrases mean so many different things to so many different people in extremely diverse situations.
And, therefore, they have more or less lost their power to inspire and inform our lives in any real or tangible way.
When I say tangible, I mean, how useful is the idea of being great in daily life?
I think that there are more important qualities which possess more direct usefulness.
Such as the quality of paying your bills on time, avoiding moldy produce at the local supermarket, controlling your temper in a situation that has your blood boiling or, being able to fry bacon to the perfect crispness (so-ho useful!).
I think forgiving and extending grace to someone who has deeply hurt you is a true act of heroism.
Yet, it has astounded me how I have looked down on my life (and, others’) and concluded that it isn’t great solely based on criteria so dodgy…that it makes Arnold Schwarzenegger seem like a faithful husband.
I used to be hypnotized by the nebulous notion of living a life of greatness.
But, now I’m wide-awake (great song, btw, Katy Perry!) And, now I want to roar!
I know. That was cheesy and gratuitous. Deal with it. teehee
Where once I was living a life of greatness as an aspiration – now, it is simply a push to live life to the fullest measure of all my God-given gifts and blessings, hoping to help as many people along the way as possible.
Let the chips fall where they may on the gambling table of greatness.
I’ve given up the game.
I don’t think any person on earth is NOT destined for something great. So, it makes the phrase “living a life of greatness” just a tad ridiculoso.
I highly doubt that any person who is currently living a life of greatness (or any historical figure) actually set out to be a pillar of greatness, anyway.
In 99% of the cases they had to overcome obstacles, overwhelming hardship, trials and tragedies.
Even birth in a filthy stable and a naked, bloodied death on two rough-shod poles in the shape of a cross.
Nobody teaches you that in the Grand School of Greatness, eh?
Great people’s greatness and lasting impact on history and society, as we know it, was probably a very unexpected and pleasant bi-product of them just living out their lives in “quiet desperation” (thanks Henry David Thoreau for that partial quote).
Desperate to grow. Desperate to try again. Desperate to bounce back after a set back - that kind of desperate.
I wonder if part of living a life of greatness is engaging in your unique honest-to-God passion, spurred on by a cause for which one is willing to sacrifice & nurture, accompanied by a commitment to making a vision happen that others said could not happen and then just NEVER…GIVING…UP.
(Golly! That was a run on sentence that could beat even Usain Bolt.)
There are just so many colourful versions of what it means to live a life of greatness.
You might as well pick your favourite shade - and paint this world with it!
It’s been a little too grey out there without you.
by Priya Devalia
Copyright ©PRIYA H. DEVALIA 2013 All rights reserved