Dare to be great…

February 13, 2021

A recent quote from the Jack’s Winning Words blog inspired me to think about how one can move their life from good to great – “A great person does work that is useful to mankind and makes people happy.”  (Urban Dictionary) 

Most of us probably think of someone in particular when we heard the phrase “he/she was a great person.” Some may think of an influential politician of our time or maybe a famous movie or sports star. Maybe a teacher or pastor who had great influence on your life comes to mind. For many it is a parent, grandparent or other relative that pops into mind. Initially it might be that they made you happy that brings them to mind, but what about the part about doing work that is useful to mankind? I submit that their work to improve your life and set you on the right path in life was their contribution to mankind. You are the product of the useful work that they did.

Now, consider what you can do yourself to be considered to be great. The keys to accomplishing greatness are in the doing of useful work for mankind and in making people happy. One does not get to be considered to be great by just sitting around wishing for greatness. You must do things and those things should benefit others and, ultimately, make them happy.

But what can you do as an individual to benefit mankind and make people happy?

Nothing makes the lonely and hungry elderly person happier than when the Meals-on-Wheels driver shows up with their meal. They not only get to eat, but they also have someone to talk with for a few moments. Ask them how great that delivery driver is and they will tell you. And what of those back at the headquarters sorting and packing the meals for hours? Are they not dong useful work for mankind? They can only imagine the gratitude of he recipients, but they feel the happiness, too. Greatness is often accomplished in the background.

Does not the worker standing there ringing the Salvation Army bell by his kettle not bring a smile to your face? It’s because you know that your contribution to his kettle will make someone, somewhere happy and that makes you happy, too. You’ll never meet the person that you contribution makes happy, but you know that it will and that makes you great.

We are told in the Bible that we are saved by grace and not by our works; however, the things that we do to better mankind and make others happy directly reflects the love of God working through us – “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

There is a little saying that is used on T-shirts and elsewhere as inspiration – God’s Work Your Hands. But, that is really true. God works through us and it is in doing His work that we can achieve greatness, not for ourselves, but for God.

So, dare to do things that better mankind and make others happy. You need not be a powerful or famous person to the little things in life that make a difference to others. Be useful today. Look for a need in your community and fill it. Reach out and volunteer.

God has got work for you to do that is useful and which will make people happy.

Dare to be great today!


Three little words – Let yourself out!

January 27, 2015

Awaken the Greatness – Phrase seen on a Purina ProPlan dog food bag . Anthony Robbins puts it a slightly different way – Awaken the Giant Within. There are all sorts of little inspirational sayings that use similar phrasing, with words like “free your…” or “unchain your…” or “unleash your…” What all of these little tidbits of advice share in common is the recognition that what’s holding you back is you. We create our own cages or chain ourselves to old habits; we limit our own abilities and refrain from taking chances or risks to explore new idea or experiences. We are incarcerating the giant within and restraining our own greatness. It’s time to change that. Let yourself out!

cagedThere are lots of complex and intertwined reasons that we hold ourselves back and most of them boil down to FUD – Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. We do not let ourselves succeed many times because we don’t ore won’t try what is necessary for success – we are fearful of the unknown, uncertain of the risks and doubtful of our own abilities. We talk ourselves out of it and feel satisfied that we have avoided probable failure by not even trying. We had no chance to win, because we wouldn’t even play. Let yourself out!

Our creativity is stifled many times because we fear criticism of our work. We think it’s just not good enough. Imagine the criticism that Picasso might have gotten from an artpicasso teacher at school for one of his abstract drawings or paintings – eyes pointed this way and nose going that way and those colors. You can imagine the teacher saying, “Give it up Pablo, you just don’t have it to be an artist.” Or how about the first time Bob Dillon performed using the technique that he developed to get the words out? Imagine the critics who panned him for his delivery, rather than listening to the message that he was trying to get across. Don’t let the world stifle what you are trying to say through your art or your writing or your songs. Let yourself out!

Our social lives are often hampered by shyness and self-doubt. After all, who would want to hear what you’ve got to say? You’re not one of the “in” people, the cute ones, the jocks or the popular kids; you’re just an ordinary person with an ordinary life. Yet there is something that you have that no one else has and that is your perspective on the kids at schoolworld, how you see things is definitely different from how others see them. The things that you like and the knowledge that you’ve accumulated provide you with opinions that are different from others – not better or worse, just different. Differences of opinion make for more interesting conversations and relationships. Express those differences and you become a more interesting person; perhaps even the “go to” person when others realize that you are your own person and not just going along with the crowd to get along. You may not please everyone when you learn to express yourself, but you certainly won’t be labeled dull and uninteresting. Let yourself out!

For some discovering the greatness within may take an artistic form – art or music or even acting. For some the route to letting the real you come out maybe through athletics. For many it turns out that the key to letting themselves out is through service to others, through volunteering and helping others through charitable causes and helping handsprograms. Every community has those who truly find themselves and let others see who they are through their tireless work to feed or cloth or house the less fortunate. The tiny voice inside your head that says “let me help” can grow into the strong voice that others hear as they follow your lead or work alongside you on the projects that you take on in the community. Suddenly, you find that you have that greatness that you didn’t know was there and it’s all because you – Let yourself out!

So, don’t let yourself be caged by the opinions of others and don’t build your own cage of fear, uncertainly and doubt. Stand up, clear your throat, and say out loud – “I want to help.” Before you know it, a different you will out there, working, helping and joining with others to make a difference in the lives of others and in the community. Fear, smiling girluncertainty and doubt will be replaced by satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment and confidence. It may not end up that there was a giant within you; but for sure there was always more than the dwarf that you had let yourself become in a cage of your own making. You won’t know how much you can grow until you get out there and get started. But, before you can put yourself out there, you have to – Let yourself out!

Have a great week. Find your voice and express your opinions. Find a cause. Find a need that you can fill. But most of all – Let yourself out!