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How does one become great?

Updated on February 27, 2017

IF YOU WANT TO BE GREAT, HERE IS THE ONE THING YOU MUST DO...

When the world grieved over the passing of Maya Angelou, I found it difficult to describe why she had such a profound impact on me, and so many others. I began by intellectualizing, and categorizing her influence moment by moment. Was it because of the suffering in her past, and her courageous testimony? Was it her early fellowship with so many people that I admire, i.e. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, James Baldwin? Perhaps it was because she was the champion that I have always dreamed of being; a courageous voice for the voiceless, and a never-ending stream of wisdom as if God was speaking through her. I could go on and on about what a remarkable life she lived, but nevertheless that wasn’t the point. Then it hit me like a lightning bolt.

If you want to be great, here is the ONE this you must do… you must love humanity.

We don’t love Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and others because they did everything possible for the benefit of themselves. We love them because they did everything possible for the benefit of others. The bottom line is, we loved them because they loved us.
This is what all of our great men and women, our heroes, have in common. The truth lies in how we, as admirers experienced them. We experience them in the same way that we do our parents, and grandparents who, unconditionally shower us with love whether we feel we deserve it or not. We experience them in the same way that we do our gods, and creators who we feel, love us unconditionally no matter our sins.

The good news, is that we can choose to be great right at this moment. It begins in our minds. We don’t have to be Mother Teresa, or Maya Angelou. We can be our best selves, giving love and compassion as often as possible. Free from judgment or cynicism. Find what you love, who you love, and watch your life grow in ways you never thought possible.

“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” Mother Teresa

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