Characteristics of Greatness

I don’t believe that greatness is hereditary nor is it a reflection of your roots. It is difficult to see pass our circumstances when we have dreams that we believe are bigger than anything we should want or hope for. We spend much time with negative self talk and doubts so you never really get to the point of trying. I want to talk about characteristics of greatness from my perspective. The criteria that I have used are people who have made an impact on their generation or forever change an issue or situation in history. These people were often times humble and unseeing characters. Someone that generally the popular crowd may not be interested to look at. The story of Esther points to the fact that greatness isn’t something that comes by birth but instead by character. Queen Vashti loosed her throne to an Orphaned girl  named Esther. That orphaned girl later used her position to save the lives of countless Jews.  Though Esther was indeed a beautiful woman according to the bible, what made her stand out to the king and the Queen attendants and even the other candidates for Queen was her character.  She was kind and respected  by everyone.

Photo by Dean Ha on

Esther ‘s uncle Mordecai took to her  and cared for her as his own. So much so that he stood outside of the palace everyday to make sure she was ok. From what I know about relationships I would say it is highly unlikely that he would do that for someone he didn’t care much for. Esther’s’ character was tested and she remained consistent despite fearing for her life. One characteristics of greatness comes from the disposition or the ability to do the right thing at the right time regardless of the circumstances and remaining consistent in that. Let me explain. There are two athletes training for a marathon.  One is a seemingly committed athlete he works out at least four times weekly but every now and then he skips practice or workouts because he isn’t feeling up to it. Even though the competition is close and he knows he will need all the practice he can get. The second athlete is consistent with his training schedule, he never misses a day and as build up around himself a team that helps to keep him accountable. From a logical perspective we would agree that the second athlete would be prepared for the competition and is more likely to rise to whatever challenge comes their way. In a similar way remaining consistent in your character and doing the right things at the right time is necessary for someone who desires to become great, in whatever area they desire. This helps to train you for the habit of rising to the occasion.

Someone who desires to be great needs to have the ability to persevere beyond their breaking point. There is a popular saying amongst the Christian community, your break through is right beyond your breaking point. Lets take for example, you need to see a specific person and you show up everyday at a location they are known to visit and ask for that person. You tell the people who work at the location who you are looking for. Perhaps you have great news to share or they are your long lost sibling, who knows let your imagination take you where ever. You show up everyday for almost eight months consistently and nothing. Then one morning you decide it’s a waste of time they are never going to show up so you stay home instead brooding over your apparent defeat. Later that day however you get a phone call from someone saying they are looking at the person right now but they are on their way out the door. You’ve missed them. Can you imagine how defeated you would be? This is a light and vague example but that is really what it looks like when we don’t persevere through trials and hard situations. A slight miss of destiny just because we refuse to hang in their long enough. Lets take the story of Daniel as an insight. It would have been so easy for Daniel to get out of the lions den, he was regarded amongst the Babylonians and loved by the king an easy concession and a quick giving into his fear and flesh would have cost Daniel his entire legacy, it would have also cost the kingdom of God greatly.

The next attribute of those who achieve greatness is they have blind faith. The ability to exercise blind faith is literally sometimes doing things that looks ridiculous, and makes no sense to you or anyone else looking for that matter. But being able to boldly still believe and choose that this is the path that is set out for me, this is what I believe so I must trust that I am going to throw my net into this huge ocean and find this one specific fish or thing that I need to be successful on my journey. It is blind, literally, but it is freeing because you know that God is leading you and you have built up this relationship of trust with him. So you let go and give him your hand. A good illustration is a child and his mom crossing a busy intersection. Cars flowing from one direction to the next, the child is terrified on his own. But his mom takes his hand and he walks across with confidence knowing that she is going get him to the other side of the street. There is no logic in it from the Childs perspective but he trust his mom, blindly.

Another important attribute are people who understand the big picture and work with it accordingly. You cannot have tunnel vision as they say to achieve greatness. You need to have big picture vision but an understanding of times, situation and people and the ability to work with them to achieve your goals. Regardless of the package they may come in, regardless of how and what they bring to the table. Knowing and understanding people first is key because then you can compartmentalize and put people in the categories where they function best. Then knowing and understanding the situations you are in, the timing and the setting. That way you know how to create action plans and strategies to move ahead. Sometimes even when you are seemingly sitting still and it seems like nothing is happening around you. If you think about it to look at something tunnel vision encourages you to look at it without using peripherals or birds eye view. Small insignificant situations that should have minimal impact end up making a huge impact when it should of been a blip on the radar. Wherein if you were looking at it birds eye view, (big picture) you would have been able to see that and categorize the issues as such.

Greatness is often categorized or compared with popularity in the 21st century. How many people you know, how many people like and follow you and so on. I disagree with this notion whole heartedly though. greatness is not a popularity contest. It’s a matter of impact, how you serve your generation and humanity as a whole. The humble middle wage worker that spends his evening feeding the homeless and encouraging people is great. Their impact is far more wide reaching than any of the popular social media celebrity that use their platforms to push negativity and or sell us nonsense. Adolf was a popular man but by no means was he great, he did not serve his generation. He served a purpose, yes but he did not serve anyone but himself. In summary to be great you need to have a certain kind of grit that doesn’t come from who you know or where your from, It’s about your character.

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