In a heated classroom discussion, the topic of “greatness” came up. My English teacher asked us, “What if that person can’t do anything? That means they don’t do anything great. It means they won’t be great.” Won’t. Be. Great.
Those words can blow open a whole new battlefield.
“What about those kids with special needs? They can’t do much, but they’re great to their parents and their family.”
“What about babies? They can’t do much, but they’re still great.”
“What about pet goldfish? They do absolutely nothing, but they’re still great.”
So…what is greatness?
Is greatness determined by the amount of things we’ve done and accomplished in our lifetime or our importance to those around us? In fact, am I even great? I may be the coolest, greatest kid to my parents, but to a varsity basketball coach (I was never good at basketball, okay?) I could be ehh, that kid. So really, what determines greatness?
Let’s roll with the perspective that greatness is derived from the amount of things we’ve done and accomplished in our lifetime. It would mean you would have to earn your greatness. Greatness would be earned and achieved at a later stage of life. In a way, it’s good because it would motivate you to make yourself this amazing person. You would want to become someone associated with greatness, in hopes of having respect and bettering society. However, what if your greatness never came. What if you never lived to see it finally be recognize?
Now let’s say greatness is all about your importance to someone. We would be seen as this godly being from our birth. To our parents, our family, friends; we’d be great. In a sense, it builds self-confidence in people and gives them a taste of what it would be like to be appreciated. At the same time, everyone would be great and we would devalue the word “great”. We’d be giving false praise to those who may not deserve the attention they’re receiving.
So what do I think greatness is? I think it depends on what you do, how you carry yourself, and perspective. If someone were to single-handedly raise thousands of dollars for cancer research, we’d think they were great. We would marvel at their incredibility and automatically see them as a hero- a figure of greatness. If we were to see someone who was always kind and treated those around them with respect, then we would also assume that person is great. Lastly, perspective is a huge role in greatness. Those around me, who love me, may think I posses all the qualities to greatness. People who don’t know me, or don’t like me, could think the complete opposite.
So greatness? Greatness is defined by many factors, but it’s up to you to determine those factors. In order to be great, act in the way respectable people around you act. You know what it looks like, but it’s hard to actually do. My chemistry teacher told us that it’s hard to spend your life trying to make yourself respected and great, but very easy to destroy the image you built for yourself.
“The easiest and fastest thing you can destroy? Your self-image.”
What do you think the definition of greatness is?