From Alexander the Conqueror, to Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, to Warren Buffett, all these legendary stars had one thing in common, greatness. They had certain characteristics that distinguished them head and shoulders above the rest.
Everyone works hard, so why aren’t we able to achieve greatness in what we do? Firstly, you’re probably not doing the work you love. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant didn’t become greats because they loved money, they succeeded because they were in a line of work they loved. They weren’t forced to practice everyday, they not only wanted to- they needed to. We often attribute success to the wrong things.
The way to achieving greatness begins in your line of work, particularly the work you love. I’m not talking about a casual interest, it needs to be something you go out of your way to do, and excel in. As Steve Jobs puts it “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on“. You need to find what you love to do, period.
But why strive for greatness? Why not just do good enough work and call it a day? If you’re satisfied with the latter then save yourself some time and read no further.
How To Start Your Journey Towards Greatness?
Jim Collins, author of the best-seller, Good to Great provides an exceptional answer to the whys and hows of greatness. To start on the hows of greatness, we go to an outstanding concept:”Level 5 Leadership”. To achieve greatness, you must become a Level 5 leader. To achieve this level, you must start with yourself. The characteristics of a great leader are honesty and modesty. In success, they always give credit, never take. When things go poorly, they look in the mirror, not around. Being this leader means that you are crazed about results and performance, you want the very best, no less and you will do absolutely any amount of work to reach it. You can start with improving yourself and climbing the ladder of leadership levels.
The End Game of Greatness
Why does achieving greatness matter? When it’s all said and done, it’s impossible to live a great life if you haven’t found meaning in it. It’s equally difficult to live a meaningful life without meaningful work, for your work will take up much of your time.
“The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” -Steve Jobs
Perhaps in doing great work, you’ll gain that rare feeling of a job well completed, that feeling in creating something of value, something worth more than the sum of its parts. Or maybe even better, as Collin puts it:
“…you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.”
-Jim Collins, Good to Great
Good to Great was exceptionally written. Collins shows that greatness is indeed attainable, and illustrates what distinguishes the best from the rest. Indeed he does outline the qualities of great leaders and provides guidelines for theses traits while analyzing a list of companies. My mentor recommended this book to me, and as he passed on his recommendation to me, I will pass it onto you. I hope you enjoy this read as much as I did, and that the knowledge you gain will better you in your business life and personal. You can start your journey towards greatness here.