Things To Remember On Your Path to Greatness

  1. Smile & Laugh

Always smile. Smile through the pain. Smile through the hurt. Smile through the disappointment. Smile through the frustration. Smile through your own tragedy. Smile through other’s tragedies. Smile for yourself. And smile big! So big, that every frown you see, is compelled to turn upside down.

Believe that if you, who has faced the greatest rejection of your life, the lowest lows of your struggle for better and the hardest realities of your existence, can smile, then anyone can smile. A key aspect to garnering your way, on your path to greatness, is to hone and securely believe in your ability to be an influence in the world around you, a particularly great influence.

On days when it seems the hardest to laugh at silly things, despite your insistent desire to cry, it is most necessary to pull out your best Kool Aid smile. Finding the inspiration to deliver, even a fake smile, or a forced laugh, in times of struggle, builds your resistance to sorrow and misfortune.

The power in laughter, lies in what it does to your spirit within, and the spirits of others around you. When everyone is down and out, it is the jester or the class clown, who is instilled with the power to lift everyone’s spirit, with their delivery of recipes for laughter and smiles. If you are mighty enough to deliver joy, even in midst of great sadness, where it seems there is no joy to be found, you can conquer all other things, even when it seems you can’t.

2. Live by faith, not by sight

Though, this relatively popular phrase is often associated with religious or even, spiritual connotations, the reality of living by faith and not by sight, is simple. As simple as the science of the blind belief that compelled Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X to dare to believe that freedom and equality were worth fighting for, despite the daily sights that told them that it wasn’t. They didn’t live by sight. They lived by faith.

The essence of living by faith, lies in your ability to maintain commitment to the cause in which your faith truly lies. If your faith, for example, is fundamentally in God, the universe, a better world, healthier people, world peace, spreading love or sharing laughter, then that force must be your guide for keeping your faith.

When your will to live by something unforeseen or intangibly existent, begins to wane, in search for more physical reinforcements of your belief, you have to remember the fundamentals of your faith. You have to remember your God, your universe, your dream of a better world, healthier people, world peace, spreading love or sharing laughter. Your resilience in times of trouble, doubt and confusion, defines your respect for the beauty of all that can’t be seen, but only felt.

Millions of people have read the book or even seen the movie, “The Secret” and found great purpose, success and peace in the truth it reveals. The key about the truth in “The Secret” is that you don’t need to read the book to know what it says. The real “Secret” is that no one needs a book, or a person, or a large or authoritative entity to dictate their access to the most powerful success of life.

The secret is to live by faith and not by sight. To believe in the truth that lies within you, that can never been seen or touched. To listen to the voice that knows that the reality destined and ordained for each of us, is something only our mind can see first and our heart and produce. The key to finding that voice, is to live by faith and not by sight. 


Permission for greatness


3. Live open-minded & Exhale thoughtfulness

I lived most of my life according to specific rules and guidelines I designed, in effort to stay on path to accomplish every goal I made for myself. I lived by relatively strict standards and schedules throughout high school, working diligently to adhere accordingly to a socially constructed timeline for “productive and successful adults”.

I was supposed to graduate high school, go to college and graduate within four years, go to law school and graduate within three years, and then go for political office. Somewhere between law school and the mayor’s office, I would write a book and create a non- profit organization. 

To say the least, I am nowhere on that track and I realized that, very early on. The key is, to allow life’s gentle and even sometimes, aggressive redirection onto new or unknown paths, to be just that, a redirection. If you have to be humbled to understand what you’re meant to be, find humility and adhere to life’s direction.

I believe it was put best by Iyanla Vanzant in her book, ’Peace From Broken Pieces’ when she said, “The good news is that when you have something to do, life will not allow you to move forward until you do it. The bad news is the same.”

Be open-minded to what life you are meant to live, while remaining committed to how you choose to live your life. And always be thoughtful of where you are and where you believe you should be, because in fact, at any given moment we all are exactly where we’re supposed to be. 

4. Be still and Know

You don’t need permission to accomplish those things you are destined to accomplish. You don’t need approval, support or even fundamental help. All you need is yourself and the rest will come.

The most important tool you have in attaining any worthwhile goal is yourself and whatever you bring to the table, for better or worse. There is nothing another person, place or thing could offer you in effort to acquire those goals in which you set out for yourself, that you can’t offer yourself first.

Your truest and most ordained power is your ability to be still and know. Something that takes great skill, commitment and patience, the essence of lying in wake, fosters the sound mind of knowledgeable and usable life lessons.

To be still and know, is to stop your endless thoughts from running wild, to end your needless worrying and anxiety and to destroy your desperate attempts at figuring out all the answers. To be still and know is to look beyond what is outside of yourself, to find answers and understanding within yourself. 

If you don’t have any answers, don’t look for any. Be still and know. The answers lie in front of you, hiding in plain sight. But you often can’t see the forest from the trees. If you lack understanding, don’t search too hard for it. Be still and know. Seek within yourself, the understanding you desire and wait patiently and faithfully for it to come.

If you need direction, don’t commit to the system of trial and error on your path to finding the right way. Be still and know. Commit to the direction you believe in, while waiting for understanding on how to get in the direction you’re meant to go in. 


Courtesy: Flickr @ Thomas Hawk
Courtesy: Flickr @ Thomas Hawk

5. Build A Solid Purpose & Foundation

Discover your purpose for who you are, why you are and where you are, in this life. Determine the truest understanding for your purpose for yourself, the people around you and the universe that designed you. With your understanding of purpose, it is fundamental to build a foundation for which that purpose lies. 

Many people build this foundation around spiritual or religious beliefs, grounded in their reason for being and significance for living by a particular creed of life. Realistically, a person doesn’t need spirituality or religion to build foundation for how they guide their lives.

For example, some of the world’s most successful leaders and entrepreneurs, are those that built their lives on a foundation of standards that guide each decision they make, from choosing how to eat to choosing where to live.

The foundation of some people, may be based on abstaining from particular products or lifestyles, as a standard for living a successful life. For instance, people who build their foundation on fitness, physical health or abstaining from mind altering substances.

Others may base their foundation on more tangible things like family, education or even wealth. Such people mandate their decision-making process based on the concept of never jeopardizing those tangible values they possess, like children or entry into college. 

Whatever you choose to build your foundation on, remember that it serves to be a consistent reminder of, in spite of all circumstances and times, your original purpose for the path you’ve chosen to lead.

If you lose your way, this foundation is meant to serve as your redirection toward your purposed path. If you slip and fall, your foundation is supposed to brace your fall, giving you support to help you get back up. So, make sure you build your foundation well and on solid ground.

6. Forgiveness, Acceptance and Thanksgiving

Remember that no matter how perfect you may believe your plans, goals or actions may be, toward attaining your greatness, things may not always go the way you intend for them to go.  You are not perfect and you’ll never be perfect. Your journey is about finding a road to the best of your best. Not being perfect. Accept that.

Accept that you will make mistakes. Accept that you will look back and consider things you could have done differently. Accept that you will often consider how things could be, if you knew then, what you know now. And for that reason, you need to consistently and insistently, forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself for all of things you won’t do, can’t do, don’t want to do and may never do. Forgive your past transgressions, present impotence and future mistakes. Forgive your times of confusion. Your times of being lost and not always, being found. Forgive your lost time and forgotten jewels. Forgive those who don’t, won’t and can’t. Forgive. 

And continually give thanks. Thanks for the good times and bad times. For the successes and failures. For the congrats and criticism. For the everything and the nothing. Give thanks for finding your way, if only just a few steps. Give thanks for today being today and making it through yesterday, and thanks for the hope of tomorrow. Give thanks to what is always to come and all you’ll gain along the way. 


Greatness


**Originally Published: December 17, 2014

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