Sunday, February 26, 2012

GREATNESS - A PRIMER


Every one aspires for 'greatness' for either oneself, or for something that is dear to the individual. I have witnessed this amongst individuals - whether for themselves, or for the country.......

What exactly is 'greatness'?

Greatness (in this context) - is the property possessed by something or someone of outstanding importance or eminence. (Thesaurus)

If it is aspired, then it is best to understand how it can be achieved - whether at an individual level, or in the collective level, as a country. Wise men have given directions to achieving greatness - the following quotes would help us understand what it takes.

There is no one great man. Only millions of men and women in possession of tiny pieces of greatness, which when put together, when assembled in the aggregate make the whole. I am a piece of a very large jigsaw puzzle. One of the corner pieces. The one you go for first - important for a time, different from most of the others. But then, in the end, in the big picture, just one of many...........................................Mark Dunn

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves...............................................Mahatma Gandhi

The first element of greatness is fundamental humbleness (this should not be confused with servility); the second is freedom from self; the third is intrepid courage, which, taken in its widest interpretation, generally goes with truth; and the fourth --the power to love --although I have put it last, is the rarest. ............................................................................................................................Margot Asquith

The true greatness of a nation is not measured by the vastness of its territory, or by the multitude of its people, or by the profusion of its exports and imports; but by the extent to which it has contributed to the life and thought and progress of the world. .................................................................. L. E. Blaze

A great nation is not one which, like Russia, has an enormous territory ; or, like China, has an enormous population. It is the nation which gives mankind new modes of thought, new ideals of life, new hopes, new aspirations; which lifts the world out of the rut, and sets it going on a cleaner and brighter road.
...............................................................................................................................L. E. Blaze 

America's greatness has been the greatness of a free people who shared certain moral commitments. Freedom without moral commitment is aimless and promptly self-destructive. ... John W. Gardner

America's greatness is not found in the size of its government. America's greatness resides in the hearts and the minds of the people.  ..................................................................................Rick Perry

By constant self-discipline and self-control you can develop greatness of character.... Greenville Kleiser

Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends............................................Samuel Taylor Coleridge
 
Integrity is the first step to true greatness. Men love to praise, but are slow to practice it. To maintain it in high places costs self-denial; in all places it is liable to opposition, but its end is glorious, and the universe will yet do it homage. ...................................................................................................Charles Simmons
 
Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness. ...... George Bernard Shaw

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children. ...................................................................Khalil Gibran
   
There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth. ............. Leo Tolstoy 

Greatness does not approach him who is forever looking down............................... Hitopadesa

No great man ever complains of want of opportunity......................................... Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ultimate is not to win, but to reach within the depths of your capabilities and to compete against yourself. ..............................................................................................................................Billy Mills 
 
If we are to be really great people, we must strive in good faith to play a great part in the world. We cannot avoid meeting great issues. All that we can determine for ourselves is whether we shall meet them well or ill........................................................................................................................Theodore Roosevelt
 
Every great man is always being helped by everybody, for his gift is to get good out of all things and all persons............................................................................................................................John Ruskin
 
A desire for bigness has hurt many folks. Putting oneself in the limelight at the expense of others is a wrong idea of greatness. The secret of greatness rather than bigness is to acclimate oneself to one's place of service and be true to one's own convictions. A life of this kind of service will forever remain the measure of one's true greatness....................................................................................................... Richard W. Shelly, Jr.

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand............................................................... Woodrow Wilson 
 
No one who has come to true greatness has not felt in some degree that his life belongs to the people, and what God has given them he gives it for mankind. ......................................................Phillips Brooks
 
Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people....... Hyman Rickover  

I believe that the first test of a great man is his humility. I don't mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful. ...................... John Ruskin

1 comment:

Formerly Anon said...

Must read:
Why I Gave Up On 'Social Activism' -- By Yoginder Sikand

Being a 'social activist', I imagined that the sources of all oppression and negativity were external--'out there', in the 'world beyond'--in classes, castes, structures and ideologies that I identified as 'oppressive'--Brahmins and Banias, Jews and Americans and their Saudi-Wahhabi stooges, Feudalism, Communalism, Capitalism, Casteism, Zionism, Brahminism, Religious Fundamentalism, Imperialism and so on. If these were successfully combatted, I was led to believe, all the problems of the world would be set straight.

Directing my energies and anger onto these external forces, I saw no need at all to introspect and recognize, leave alone solve, my own inner negativities, which I left completely ignored and unaddressed all these many years. It was truly a very convenient way of running away from my own inner dilemmas, insecurities and incompleteness.