Saturday, April 13, 2013

Anybody want to be great?

     I do. I mean, why the heck not. I just talked to a friend who said, 'I know it's silly, but I want to do something great and be really famous some day.' I said, "That's not silly at all." Last year's Masters champ Bubba Watson was asked if he really tried to hit heroic shots. He said, 'Heck, yeah, that's why I play golf—to hit heroic shots.'
     Being great is not the same as being grandiose. In fact, true greatness would be just the opposite. When you're truly great you don't need to be showboating your ability or touting your achievements. You don't have to be knocking anybody else down.
     When you're truly great just knowing that you're great is enough.

      In the movie "Cobb" Ty Cobb says to an ungrateful associate:

You have never been this close to greatness in your short life, son. And you love it.

     That's the thing: even to be close to greatness is spine tingling. Imagine what it's like to be actually great!
     And it can be scary to be great. It can be hard to admit to yourself that, yes, I want to be great. And to pursue it whole heartedly. Our society tends to frown on such lofty ambition.
     No, it's an admirable thing to be great. But as the Roman philosopher Seneca said:

It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.

     Want mediocrity? Just about any road will take you there. But greatness, ah greatness, is going to call for a very specific road. It will take all you've got to go down that road. And not taking that rough road is no shameful thing, either. Not at all. But it's also not shameful to take it.
     And if you do take it, and for sure you will have to take your lumps on the way, ah, soon enough the ecstasy of greatness will be yours!

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