Tag Archives: greatness

the path to greatness

If a person works only for himself he can perhaps be a famous scholar, a great wise man, a distinguished poet, but never a complete, genuinely great man. History calls those the greatest…who ennobled themselves by working for the universal. Experience praises as the most happy the one who makes most people happy. — Karl Marx

Man becomes great exactly in the degree to which he works for the welfare of his fellow men. — Mahatma Gandhi

Continuing the theme I began in yesterday’s post, I share these quotes from two powerful personalities, both of whom surprisingly share the same view on the subject.  As different as these men were, both changed history, and both came to a common understanding that happiness and greatness cannot be separated.

True greatness comes from seeking the good of the other. One is “ennobled” according to Marx by focusing on the universal good.

As radically diverse as these two figures were, both understood that creating good for those around us, creating happiness in our larger community, is the true path to personal fulfillment.

Someone wrapped up in him or herself makes a terribly small package.  At least that’s how the old saw goes.

Both Marx and Gandhi agree. Fulfillment, greatness and happiness all come from focusing on the welfare of those around us.

And in a world where 25,000 of our human family will die today from hunger, we all have abundant opportunities to achieve all three.

 

 

get ‘er done

Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what need to be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness. — George Bernard Shaw

We live in a shallow and self-indulgent society that spends an inordinate amount of time, money and effort on a never-ending quest to fill the frightening emptiness of our lives. We surround ourselves with piles of expensive toys in the vain hope of staving off the meaninglessness of our lives.

But in the end, we know we must continue fleeing if we are not to be overcome with despair. We realize that happiness is not the answer.

Shaw, one of my favorites, cuts through this  fear when he instructs us to just “get ‘er done.”

Therein lies the answer. Do what needs to be done. Stop being so self-absorbed and do what needs doing. And in the doing there is greatness.