Letters by Miji: Recipe for Greatness

Dear 16 to 25-year-olds,

If you’re able to go back in time and question your ancestors, or even simpler, have a look through history, you will find common attributes among influential figures that the world agrees were great in their time.

Some of these figures have contributed remarkably to humanity. They created things that had never before existed. They brought about changes that determined new cycles in world history. They established institutions and ideals that form the foundation for civilisation as we know it. They achieved the impossible.

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” – William Shakespeare

I agree with the old bard, especially with that first statement. Greatness is not for some select, high-up on-their-ivory-tower few. Anyone can be great. It does not matter what gender, race, social status, quality of education, financial strength, network/connections, good looks or oratory skills they have. The men and women who trail this hall of greatness did not end up there based on these factors. So, how did they do it?

First, they were totally convinced about whatever it is they accomplished. They didn’t drop their ideas because it wasn’t popular on social media or making tons of money. Second, they were consumed by that idea. They lived, ate, and dreamt it. They didn’t drop it off and come back for it when they were bored. This absolute commitment helps inspiration come through. Third, they were unrepentantly driven. They did not back down when they world called them insane or said what they set out to do was impossible or told them they were not good enough or tried to silence them and in some cases threatened their lives. It did not matter what the noise was. They were not distracted. They stayed on course because they believed in their dream.

You want to be great? Find a dream so big, it’s bigger than you and everything you know and own. Let it so consume you that you don’t mind being labelled crazy. Don’t listen when they say, somebody is already doing something like that; why don’t you find something else? Silence the voices when they tell you to abandon ship for an idea that can make you quick-rich.

If you can begin from here and hold the dream until you see it through, history might find you in the annals, on the wall of greatness.

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