Two of my friends challenge me to the core. One of them is a former abductee, forced child soldier and survivor of the Lord’s Resistance Army war in Uganda. He has a bullet wound to show for it. He is now an entrepreneur with a strong bias to developing sales forces for various corporate entities. His greatness before he clocks 30 is unprecedented in my own estimation having overcome mighty odds against him.
The second friend is new and he just walked in as I was typing this. He is an entrepreneur who has challenged himself to quit his day job and now he is peddling his life in his dream job. He has personal challenges in reading a book a week (his own that he has purchased), and jogging a day. He updates his “tribe” on social media daily after his jogging excursions. The greatness that he is gravitating towards will reverberate across Africa and the world in due course.
One thing that make these two young men (both of them in their 20’s) is the personal challenge that they give themselves. I can tell you right off the bat that the most exciting life is that of always beating a personal worthy and stretching challenge. I dare say it is the ground that breeds greatness.
Let us back up a little and develop this further. Each of us has our own personal race to which we are accountable to God and ourselves. There is no denying that we know deep in our hearts that we were meant for greatness. Even if our psyche and spirit has been so depleted that we feel like we might never attain greatness in a million years, there is no denying the fact that deep inside the heart of hearts of every human being, there is this longing for greatness. That is why we identify with great people.
Another young entrepreneur friend of mine has posted a landmark quote on his Facebook page today that says:
“Don’t waste your time trying to get people to like you. Just work on being successful and every one will want to be associated with you”
I couldn’t agree more.
There is greatness inside each and every one of us. The thing is that the greatness is seldom found on the surface. It is born by one simple yet profound decision that we come to. The decision is simply this:
To give your absolute best to anything that your God given assignment. This means that the very first thing that we must have sorted is to figure out what our assignment is. Mark my words, in the eyes of God, your greatness is to the extent that you deployed yourself on your assignment. Let me go deeper by saying that it is possible to do great and mighty things in the eyes of men, but if those things were not part of your assignment, they won’t contribute to your greatness. They are what is called “Vanity”. The truth is that we can know vanity when we see it.
Now, I am not saying that you do nothing until you find your assignment. You will be shocked that your assignment is easy to find. Look at your heart, your gifts and talents. Look at what you are compassionate about and what drives you mad with fury. Those are clues of where your assignment is. But even if you haven’t found your assignment, there are daily tasks that will be brought your way. Your assignment is to give your absolute best to them.
So I have to ask myself at all times this question: Is this my absolute best today? Did I give my all? Am I proud of what I did today?
If I can write, I need to ask myself that question: Is this the best I am doing with this gift that God gave me?
If I can speak, I need to ask the same question. Is this the best I can do with the gift I have been given?
The comfort everyone enjoys today is a manifestation of a conquered frontier which was the fortress of an enemy yesterday. In terms of your assignment and quest for greatness, you will quickly realize that the greatest enemy of the self.
The rationale here is to basically push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Professional athletes have such a thing that is called “Personal Best”. This means that they compete against themselves even though they are participating in competitions against others. Improving your personal best ought to be your life long strategy of greatness. Frankly, there is no other way. There is no shortcut for greatness but deploying your personal best incessantly.
I have seen this happen in my personal life. When you get started, it is like an egg that has not been incubated. It has massive potential but without the incubation, you can forget about the greatness. The incubation I am talking about here is the action that you do to push your limits of greatness. The two young men I mentioned earlier have this wonderful trait of always pushing their greatness. Matter of fact, few weeks ago as my wife and I were driving for a function, we met one of them grinding it out on his jogging circuit that is 11 Kilometers. I was massively impressed. He actually does this 3 times a week; you would think he is a professional athlete.
You cannot push yourself today and then rest for a whole week and expect to gravitate to greatness. You have to be smack in the middle of your assignment each and every waking day without fail.
As you push your personal best each day, you tend to realize that there are levels that you reach only by gradually being consistent. In fact, you tend to notice that what seemed to be like an enemy’s unconquerable fortress is now your piece of cake kind of thing. It means that as you apply yourself and as you always seek to up your personal best, you are getting better and better slowly by slowly.
As you keep at it, you begin to notice that the greatness you were pursuing is not only well within your grasp, but it is right inside of you. Initially, you have had to incubate it, something that is not easy. Incubation takes time, lots of discomfort and a massive fight against discouragement. But as you keep resilient, you start feeling the glimpses of your greatness. That is where you get your mental accent that you are destined for greater things. Some athletes know that they would win a race before it starts; they have this feeling that is a result of massive preparation.
Ultimately, once you have pushed a lot and you have a critical mass of action, your greatness starts to carry you around. Now you start feeling the part. You start oozing the comfort, zeal, confidence and prowess of your greatness. If for example you were struggling to finish your jogging circuit, once your greatness starts showing up, you can finish the circuit and still feel lots of extra energy that you want to do it again. That is where you get the feeling that you are smack in the middle of your greatness. Like a tree that never takes its fruit to people, people start coming to you, recommending you and seeking your advice. People start quoting you and “following” you seeking to connect with you.
In the end, two things ultimately happen when you seek to deploy your personal best daily: