On Greatness

Elton John’s greatness

Elton John’s greatness

This week I had the pleasure of basking in the greatness that is Elton John. As I sat listening to the memories of my entire life, I was overcome by chills (aka frissons) and tears formed in my eyeballs. This is how I feel when I’m in the presence of greatness. The incredible gratitude that I’m able to witness something so beyond what the ordinary person can do fills my entire heart and soul. It’s magical, miraculous, and every other similar descriptor. I don’t even think words exist to describe such greatness as it’s a feeling more than anything else.

Now I believe we all have this greatness within. Not the exact same kind of greatness, but some sort of greatness. Maybe not always a greatness that’ll give you celebrity status and make you millions, but you’ve got something.

Believe me, I’m the queen of odd talents. There are a few skills I have that I’m absolutely convinced I’m one of the best in the world at, but there isn’t really a market for.

For instance, I’m a skilled reader and can read as well upside down as right side up. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many uses for this. Besides that I always get the absolute best parking spot. I’m currently working on expanding this talent to manifest many dollar bills. Seriously, though, if you ever need a parking spot, just put me in your car. I could also park it while I’m at it since I’m aso a superhero parallel parker. I have no memory of learning this skill, but I’ve had people applaud when I’ve gotten out of my car.

Can’t wait to sell out a stadium due to my parallel parking skills!

Can’t wait to sell out a stadium due to my parallel parking skills!

I’m also a gifted “finder.” I can find anything, anywhere, anytime. And quickly. I never lose my own things. And other people’s things, I have no business knowing where they are, but somehow I gravitate right toward them. I just know where things are. I would love to be detective and solve mysteries, but I don’t want to work in law enforcement. I suppose I could be a private investigator… Search and rescue… Okay, maybe this talent is more useful than the others.

The thing is aside from the fact that no one wants to watch me do any of these things, they also aren’t passions of mine. Except for maybe finding stuff. I can be real nosy and can’t help but find myself solving mysteries and seeking answers. This is part of the reason I became a therapist rather than just seem uber creepy and snoopy.

Passion is key to total greatness. There must be talent and passion. Also, outside support that recognizes your greatness, is also helpful, but unfortunately we can’t control that. There is no accounting for taste.

I believe a lack of support is often what gets in the way of us fully exploring, developing, and sharing our greatness. Think back to when you were a kid. As children, we more innately recognize our talents and gifts and what we’re naturally drawn to. We know what gives us tremendous joy and we don’t hesitate to this share with others.

Then, the saddest thing happens. At some point, most of us encounter some poor soul who rains on our parade. Someone who had their dreams shot down and never recovered. Someone who tells us we’re not as cool as we thought we were. So we start to doubt our talents and abilities. Even if they agree that we have some incredible gift, they still may not fully support us. They may question whether it’s worth spending our time on, whether it’s a legit career path. Aka is it going to show us the money?

The greatness of an entire civilization

The greatness of an entire civilization

So unless we’re steadfast in our resolve (I just love that phrase!), we start to believe these sad folks and talk ourselves out of our passions. We do them less and less so not only do we not improve, but can even lose some of the talent. Sometimes it stops being fun. Sometimes the ghost of the dream haunts us. Sometimes for the rest of our life.

True greatness isn’t necessarily selling out stadiums around the world for decades. True greatness is simply not giving a damn. It’s saying eff you to the naysayers. It’s finding a way to do you to your fullest. No matter what.

I think I should insert a caveat here because I also just finished listening to the Dr. Death podcast. My caveat is that greatness also requires self-awareness. If everyone you’ve ever met doesn’t seem to think you can sing, then maybe you should explore other potential talents... Just sayin’. I don’t want to waste your time by saying anyone can be great at anything. My dreams of an NBA career died when I barely got above 5 feet tall and I do struggle with singing on key so the rock star dream has mostly died too. We all have some limitations. But I’ve made peace with those because I have other passions backed up by actual talent. And I can rock out in the shower and my car any freakin’ time I want. I don’t need a packed stadium.

So explore your greatness. Share your greatness. Continually develop, nurture, and grow your greatness. Live your greatness. Whatever that greatness is. What a gift to give yourself and others. Not only does it make your own life more fulfilling, but it also blesses the rest of us too. Greatness inspires and motivates. Greatness can be contagious. I don’t know if I can say it any better than Sir Elton John, “How wonderful life is while you’re in the world...” Cheesy ending, I know. Still working on my written greatness over here, but I’m having fun doing it.