There are both general and specific ideas and opinions around what greatness is. And what will form these ideas and opinions will be influenced by the age that one lives in, the society they are raised in and what one values themselves.
This can range from the current societal models, such as: footballers, musicians, writers and actors. In the media these are often held up as the ultimate forms of greatness. And when it comes down to day to day experiences, one might think of other examples of greatness. These could range from: firemen, doctors, therapists, teachers or nurses for example.
The former are usually seen or heard about through media exposure or at an event where it is hard to achieve personal contact. This means that the ego mind typically elevates them above ‘normal’ people. So along with the elevation, there is also the potential for idealisation and projection to occur with people of this type of greatness.
Whereas the latter are more readily available for personal contact and without having to wait too long; at the most, an appointment of some sort may have to be made to gain access to these people. As a result of this, one will have firsthand experience with these people and not simply second hand experiences that have been attained through the media.
Dismissed And Ignored
When the mind has been exposed to something for long enough and becomes familiar with something, it can begin to lose its importance and meaning. Most of us can all relate to the common occurrence of taking certain things in our life for granted. And this latter type of greatness is no different. And when this happens it is easy to dismiss and ignore this type of greatness.
And with the ego mind seeing reality in polarities, it is only natural that what is being given the limelight in the media and along with all of the illusions that the media creates; that these other forms of greatness will be perceived as being above the other forms of greatness that one is exposed to everyday.
While this whole process is continually being acted out, ones ego mind will begin to form associations around what is being shown. And through the distance and space that is created between the modern day celebrities of the world and the ‘normal’ people, the ego mind will begin to fill in the gaps.
These gaps will then be filled with; ideas about what these celebrities are like, how superior they are and of course the greatness that they possess. And many other associations the ego mind will use to close the distance.
So with the help of the media and the ego minds ideas, associations and projections, one will begin to see the other person’s greatness. And one thing the media exemplifies is the ego minds tendency to see in polarities. This means that the people who are great musicians, actors, or sports stars will be associated as being greatness themselves and not an expression of greatness in action.
This is not to say that these people were born with greatness or that they are not great, it means that they have brought out an inherent greatness. Something that is there in each one of us and like a seed, it waits for the right conditions that will allow it to grow.
And by elevating or worshipping these people one is missing the point entirely. This is not to say that they don’t deserve recognition and acclaim for what they have achieved. It means that they are to be seen as examples of what can be achieved and realised.
Because as soon as these people are raised to a certain level, ones ego mind will only have one option and that is inferiority. And along with that position, there will be the potential for the ego mind to come up with all the reasons why one can’t do something and how these other people are different.
One Side Of The story
The time when we are usually exposed to these examples of greatness, be it the sports stars, the musicians or the actors, is when they have made it. And all of the struggle, pain and suffering that they have gone through, to get to this point, are rarely known.
This of course, has the potential to lead to further idealisation and the likely hood that one will see these people as different. And as a consequence of this, one’s sense of perspective is going to be affected.
When we see greatness in others we can identify with them and momentarily feel what these people feel. This experience can go on for while or we can live our whole life through this process. And all we have to do is take a look at some of these people’s biographies or interviews that they have done, to realise these people had to work hard for their greatness.
The Rocky story is a perfect example of this. And what becomes clear is that long before they were ever seen as great, they had to handle numerous setbacks. Ultimately there are human beings, and this means that they have their good days and bad days like everyone else.
What they often show is how important it is to be persistent and to keep going. This doesn’t mean that their whole life is perfect, as much as the ego mind likes to project perfection onto these people.
And when we recognise the greatness of another human, it is likely that we are seeing what is within ourselves. As in order to see something as great, we have to value you it within ourselves. What one person sees as an example of greatness might not be what another person does and vice versa. The experience that we have, when we are exposed to greatness, is within our own minds and bodies after all.
Greatness can be different for everyone and only we know what that is or will be for us. We can choose something that is socially classed as greatness, but that is unlikely to fulfil us. And as greatness is usually a process and not a destination, it is unlikely that one will have the drive to achieve it without following their own truth.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.