For my entire life I have struggled with the concept of what it meant to be “great”. For a while I didn’t know what I wanted to be in life, I just knew where ever my path led, the end result needed to be “greatness”. An interested and mortifying debate spiraled from this mindset, convoluted in nature, unfocused and unsettling for I knew that I wanted to be “great” but I had no idea what that actually meant. A word without a definition is bogus, empty and unproductive and that’s just what my life at that time produced. Instead of organizing my life’s choices toward a common goal, I was distracted by this random, unattainable desire that was as unclear and ambiguous as those blurry faces in your dreams – you have a vague idea of who’s there but some how you’re never able to recall their names.
So that was me a year ago, finishing up my undergraduate degree and faced with choices for the first time in my academic life. Where a clear and solvable formula of schooling existed previously, suddenly stood nothing. I had a choice to make, do I continue what I know best and move onto postgraduate studies? Should I get a job? What does that mean? Where do I even want to work? If I continue studying what do I actually want to study?
For my whole life I’d been a sheep – primary school, secondary school, university was all laid out for me. Step here, shift right, turn at the next left, plain and simple I know where I had to be and how to get there. But all of a sudden the master that guided me disappeared and I was left, a lone sheep at a crossroad with my mind set on becoming the ever ambiguous “greatness”, overwhelmed with this whole concept of decision making and independence.
Interestingly enough my life started to make a little more sense when I stopped trying. I once heard someone say that to be great and achieve your highest dreams you have to actively pursue it, try and try and try until you grew into a Titan of able to conquer whichever earthly realm you wished *paraphrasing*. I kept my mouth shut at the time (imagine that), not wanting to seem overly critical of her point of view. My opinion however, after much introspection was that greatness is not something we can intentionally obtained rationally or pragmatically, like buying groceries at a store – I want an orange so I’ll go out and buy an orange. What I’ve learned is that in life, you do what you love, what you’re passionate about…and greatness follows, sometimes when you least expect it, and more so, in ways that are not as obvious as one would expect.
The minute you stop doubting yourself, the second you stop restricting your potential under the guise of societal constraints, the millisecond it takes that you realize you can – that is when greatness will pour out of you as untamed rivers run over landscapes void of interference and imposition.
Everyone is capable of greatness, we just have to stop trying so hard to achieve this and instead focus that energy and time on making an impact. Stop doubting, stop waiting, stop trying…and do.