ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Makes A Person Great

Updated on September 3, 2011

"Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them." William Shakespeare


We each strive to achieve some measure of greatness in this life. And why shouldn't we? We have unlimited potential for greatness, each one of us, because of our extensive pedigree. We are children of God, with the potential to become like Him. Realizing this makes us understand that with Him, nothing is impossible and greatness is within reach. We are taught to strive for perfection and even instructed in the fifth chapter of Matthew, verse 48:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Still, we wonder what makes a person great.


American Idol.
American Idol.
Hogan Knows Best.
Hogan Knows Best.

The Worlds Standard of Measurement


We live in a world that seems to worship its own kind of greatness and produce its own kind of heroes. Popular television shows like American Idol, Hogan Knows Best, The Bachelor, and reality television shows that are anything but reality, capitalize on this exact thing. Oprah Winfrey needs only mention a product on her "Favorite Things" list and the sales skyrocket. Athletes' are paid exorbitant amounts of money while teachers struggle on fixed income schedules. We have video games like Guitar Hero and Worlds of War Craft, where one becomes a "hero" by beating the game. It makes one wonder at our standard of measurement when it comes to greatness.

Unfair Comparisons

"It's true that most of the world's heroes don't last very long in the public mind; but, nevertheless, there is never a lack of champions and great achievers. We hear almost daily of athletes breaking records; scientists inventing marvelous new devices, machines, and processes; and doctors saving lives in new ways. We are constantly being exposed to exceptionally gifted musicians and entertainers and to unusually talented artists, architects, and builders. Magazines, billboards, and television commercials bombard us with pictures of individuals with perfect teeth and flawless features, wearing stylish clothes, and doing whatever it is that "successful" people do.

Because we are being constantly exposed to the world's definition of greatness, it is understandable that we might make comparisons between what we are and what others are-or seem to be-and also between what we have and what others have. Although it is true that making comparisons can be beneficial and may motivate us to accomplish much good and to improve our lives, yet we often allow unfair and improper comparisons to destroy our happiness when they cause us to feel unfulfilled or inadequate or unsuccessful. Sometimes, because of these feelings, we are led into error and dwell on our failures while ignoring aspects of our lives that may contain elements of true greatness." (Howard W. Hunter)

Unnoticed Acts

Simply giving consistent effort in the little things in day-to-day life leads to true greatness. Little deeds of kindness and tasks of service or sacrifice given for another is another true quality of greatness. The sacrifice it takes to be a loving parent, a true friend, and a faithful companion are also marks of true greatness. Loving the Lord with all your heart, might, mind and soul and striving to help others find his love is an act of greatness. These things do not usually receive the attention or the adulation of the world, but the Lord who sees all fixes the reward.

Matthew 6

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Remember Who We Are

"To do one's best in the face of the commonplace struggles of life-and possibly in the face of failure-and to continue to endure and to persevere in the ongoing difficulties of life when those struggles and tasks contribute to others' progress and happiness and one's own eternal salvation-this is true greatness." (Howard W. Hunter)

There is a part in all of us that wants to achieve a measure of greatness in this life that is how we are made. There are many people who have already achieved great things and have made great accomplishments. These accomplishments have given us many opportunities for entertainment, culture, progress and excitement in our lives. In no way do I mean to diminish their worth, for in the correct light these are great achievements.

We should be encouraged to reach our potential and become the best we can, but we must always remember who we are. We must focus more clearly on the things of life that are of the greatest worth. Worldly greatness, that is most of the time just temporary fame, can at times pull at us and tempt us to compromise our standards. We have seen individuals who have become successful and wealthy as if overnight, but true greatness only is achieved by persistence and long suffering. There is no such thing as instant greatness; true lasting greatness is a long-term process, with occasional setbacks. It is a consistent path of small, sometimes ordinary or mundane steps over a long period of time.

“Frequently it is the commonplace tasks we perform that have the greatest positive effect on the lives of others."

Serving others.
Serving others.

Forgotten Heroes

There are many forgotten heroes among all of us. People who consistently do things they ought to be doing. These are everyday people who are reliable, honest, diligent, and committed. These are fathers who do not shirk their responsibilities to their families. These are mothers who spend long hours investing in the future of their children. These are people who are hard working in their daily tasks, but who also serve their God by serving others. These are the Shepherds true sheep.

Thus, true greatness is never a result of just chance; greatness requires the development of character. It is a result of correct decisions made in everyday choices between good and evil that ultimately shows clearly what we are made of, what we truly value, and who we really are. In evaluating our lives, we need to not only look at what we have achieved but how we achieved it. We each have different conditions in our lives we live under, we are each different and unique. We have different starting points in life with different levels of opportunity, skills, talents, challenges and constraints. It is what we do with what we are given, and the positive effect that we can have on others that truly shows greatness. It is this aspect that can help us to understand why some of the simple, common, ordinary work of life should be valued so highly.

For me true greatness is summed up in the words of the Master himself when he said:

Matthew 20

25 ... Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Yes, this is true greatness.

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. ~ Mark Twain


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I don't know...the christian that looks in the mirror and say "Im great" may require some humbling. We can do nothing without Christ and all great things we do are for His glory so....patting one self on the back because your a great parent..God gave you the resources, protected you when a stupid teen, turned away a bad mate and directed you to a good mate...all so you could raise the next Billy Graham. I think I know what your saying, we should not be depressed down in the mouth christians but I also see a lot of arrogant christians now because of our arrogant charged society. I always say that I don't ever want God to have to humble me.

    • profile image

      Brenda girl in SC 

      9 years ago

      Surely this is a great paage. I jumped when I read matthew 20:25 this text is the heaart of greatnesss. He knows what he is talking about, my thoughts.I am sharing your info in aministers class this evening. thanks. keep on serving. God bless you and yours. You have served therefore, you have met Jesus' standarded of greatness and Mine. Sincerely, Brenda girl in SC

    • mwaky profile image


      9 years ago

      nice inspiring hub, it will help to encourage people to be more loving and humble.

      check out my hub:

    • Kimberly Bunch profile image

      Kimberly Bunch 

      9 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

      Nice Work! Here's one for measure:

    • frogyfish profile image


      10 years ago from Central United States of America

      'little deeds of kindness', character, wisdom, true faith, all are here in black and white, and they are wonderfully spiritual fruits to enjoy in our lives. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tyleramayo profile image


      10 years ago from Florida

      Fantastic, and definitely God inspired, just what I needed to hear today, thanks.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      Thank you for your nice comments. I am glad you have joined us here on Hubpages.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great article, very useful information! I agree with every word. Thanks for the encouragement you have given to me and my family!

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California

      Hi Michelle,

      I enjoyed reading your profile and learning a little bit more about you. It sounds as if you could really relate to this Hub, because from my observations, through your profile and Hubs, you seem to have learned the act of serving others very well. You are also very positive and a builder. indeed two qualities that add to the greatness of ones character. Thank you for you kind words, as always.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      11 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Diana, I found myself nodding my head as I read through your hub :-) Building of one's character and being able to do ordinary tasks consistently and with love, serving others indeed makes us great! :-) Thanks for this hub!


    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California

      Lisaj66 and Laura in LA

      Thank you for your compliments on the HUB. It is the little things that many take for granted each day that makes up true greatness.

    • profile image

      Laura in L.A. 

      11 years ago

      Great Reminders Doghouse -- I think I'll go keep a commitment I made to help my hubby that I've been putting off. It is the little things!

    • lisaj66 profile image


      11 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for the great hub. It's a wonderful reminder that individuals can be great, without fame, fortune or popularity. We each can make a difference to those in our lives.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California

      amy jane- Thank you, I have also been pondering it quite a bit.

      C-Lee- I am glad you were brave enough to check it out. Welcome.

    • C-Lee profile image


      11 years ago

      I confess, the title scared me at first: my knees wobbled and my mouse-clicking finger stuttered as I hesitated to approach. But you handled it beautifully. I knew I was safe when I got to the "consistent effort in the little things in day-to-day life". Thanks for finding a way to include me. I'm not religious (I'm going to re-examine the meaning of RELIGIOUS), but I believe in "stop to smell the flowers--often".

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 

      11 years ago from Connecticut

      Really great Hub on a topic I have been thinking about a lot lately :)

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      I absolutely couldn't agree more. Thank you for your comment.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Greatness in today's world, is more a measurement of popularity than impactful action. We are never great nor should we puff ourselves up with thoughts of greatness. Our actions can define define our Masters greatness but we are merely His instruments. Only in service to others will (the least of these) will we find satisfaction and peace.

      The parable of the rich young ruler tells us ;

      "As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Was he really asking about greatness?)

      "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother."

      "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."

      Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

      At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. ( He was great in the eyes of his world)

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California

      JDM- Your insights are amazing, I love your "100mph" thought process, you should publish a HUB.  Thank you for your comments and additions. I love the quote.

      Nana- Your greatness is evident.

    • LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

      Kathryn Skaggs 

      11 years ago from Southern California

      Fun Hub Doghouse!



    • profile image

      JDM :) 

      11 years ago

      In the Doghouse-

      This hub is a very interesting and dynamic one. The vastness of the meaning of greatness can often be askew, and to the world's standards, totally distorted. I would like to add a little of personal insight on the subject. I have been told that if I could channel my "100mph" thought process that it could be amazing on paper; however I am still working on that. Maybe when that is reached I will have gained some form of personal success. :) I feel that the matter of "measuring" success should only be done on a personal level. Yes you may comment that others are successful in their lives but it is a judgement that you are placing on those individuals. We will all know when that moment comes for us when we "reach" success with no one else the wiser. For me I hope that I never feel like I have reached total complete success. Success is a never ending process, a path way to developing perfection; while the benefit or the fruits of our labors, are reaching the "goals" we have set for ourselves.

      We are all in the continuous process of reaching success. Personally, I feel success will be reached after this life, when we have earned eternal life with our Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom and there have the opportunity to continue to fill the measure of our creation.

      Thank you for your hub.

      The following quote is amazing. Despite the argument of it's true origin, the person that said it, did it very well.

      "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Good article! True greatness probably often is hidden away from being seen by many - but recognized by those whose lives are touched....

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      Thank you for your generous compliment on my HUB.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      "Great" hub, In The Doghouse. The term "great" is used and abused in many ways. We talk of great ballplayers, great actors, great presidents, etc., but what we often really mean is "talented" or "productive" or, perhaps, "inspiring." Greatness, I think, relates really to putting the welfare of others above your own. If you accomplish this you are a hero, and when you couple it with success in easing the burdens of your fellow man you achieve greatness -- whether it be known and recognized or not.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)