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Cultivating Greatness

A while ago we posted a Motivation Moment, “Cultivate Greatness,” and it has cultivated much thought for us.


We know you are great at something. All of us are. Often it takes time for our great gift to reveal itself. Others may know from toddler-hood what that special talent is. It is often summarized as some are born to greatness while others have greatness thrust upon them. The actual line from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” is, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” (Act II, Scene 5). Surprisingly, when taken in context of the play, the line although encouraging, is not sincere. It was meant as a practical joke or prank to encourage the lady’s steward to do foolish things.


How did we get from pranking an Elizabethan servant to inspiring feats of fantastic significance, from words originally intended to deride to now being encouraging and inspirational? We like to think of “achieving” greatness as it being cultivated. Achieving implies you need to work at greatness. It isn’t something that just comes to you like hair color or blood type. Neither is it reserved for those who happen to be in the right place at the right time. You don’t have to lament not being born luckily great, nor do you have to it thrusted at you! You can, in fact most do, work for it. Beware though, being great is hard work.


We like that word “cultivate” because like growing a garden, there are some resources you can’t control like sun and temperature, some you can help along like improving soil, and others that you are responsible for like how much water to give. In life, the resources you can’t control are the past and how you got here, and other people’s decisions. What has happened, happened. You had a chance to control it when it was the present, but that moment is gone so whatever brought you to this point, good or bad is neither a reason to stop growing nor an excuse to not try. Like adding fertilizer and minerals to improve your garden soil, you can seek advice and counsel of others. Just as you may influence them but not control others’ decisions, they may influence your choices, but control is yours. You are solely responsible for how you feel. You alone act for today and are responsible for your own future. You must practice to become better, read to learn more, and work to recognize and accept your limitations and capabilities.


By acknowledging the past but not relying on it, by influencing only that which you can, and by controlling your own actions, you will become great at what you do, whatever you do.


That’s how you cultivate greatness – and that is no joke!



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