Yesterday, I e-mailed back and forth with a dear friend about greatness and what it really means to be great. She had read one of my posts talking about being great and continuing to push until you get there and was interested in knowing how I define being great and how being different can be great. During this "discussion" (as it was via e-mail, so can it really be considered a discussion?), we both agreed great is a very subjective. What I may find as great and what you may find as great can be (and probably should be) two completely different things. We have our own thoughts and emotions and passions, so shouldn't greatness also be our own? Of course we can agree on some aspects of greatness or even both believe someone is doing great works, but even this might stem from differing reasoning.
For some, greatness comes from within. They want to slow down and embrace what they have and amplify themselves. They may believe they are already great, if they can only acknowledge this fact. They are tired of society constantly pushing them to do more, be more and get more. For me, it's a bit of a more meditative view of greatness...looking within and becoming comfortable with who you are and what you do is the way to achieve great works. Loving yourself. Being yourself. Being comfortable and happy with who you are and what you do.
For others, this idea may seem completely foreign. They see things on the horizon and want to keep pushing forward and learning more about the world and doing more. They don't necessarily want to get more stuff, but they want to increase their knowledge. They want to figure out what they can offer the world to help make someone else's life a little better. They are constantly driven to improve, be it personally, with what they do or how they think. They are constantly searching for something, even if they can't quite put their finger on what it is they are looking for. The search, the journey, is as important as the destination (if there can even be a destination).
The thing I learned the most during my e-mail exchange is two people can have completely different ideas of what great means and how to get there. I don't think either of our ideas are wrong, but I also don't think we could exchange ideas and practices and make them work. Greatness is a deeply personal idea and we all have to follow our own path to achieve whatever it is we want to achieve. Yes, we can learn from each other, but copying the success of someone else will bring you no closer to your goals. This life will take each of us in our own direction and to really achieve our goals, we have to do our own thing and get there in the way that makes sense to us. We can't follow others' paths, we have to walk along our own. Luckily, they are often close enough to see each other and discuss ideas and thoughts and motivations.