Discover Your Greatness: The Price of Greatness

“The heights reached and kept by great men were not obtained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Greatness is the sacrifice and service rendered to humanity regardless of the threat to freedom and social ostracism.

Great people understand the process and value of paying the price to get to the required destination in life.

Sometimes to ‘go up’ in life requires ‘going down’. To be rich you have to be broke. To be successful you have to fail. To be courageous you have to be fearful. To be strong you have to be weak.

• Nelson Mandela is one of world’s most revered statesmen today, but he had to pay the price with 27 years of his life in jail when he decided to lead his fellow black South Africans from oppression to equal rights and justice.

• Martin Luther King Jr. paid the ultimate price for his greatness in championing civil rights for Black Americans with his life.

• Thomas Alva Edison had to pay the price of numerous disappointments in order to become one of the world’s greatest inventors and businessman. Later he declared, “Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

• Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States endured many failures before he finally became the President of the United States of America and eventually paid the ultimate price of greatness when he was assassinated. His understanding of the process of greatness led to his conviction that “I will study and get ready, and perhaps my chance will come.”

Paying the price precedes assumption to greatness. Hence to be great means to be acquainted with sacrifice, sometimes sorrow and pain, loneliness, imprisonment, and ultimately death.

Are you willing to pay the price for the seed of greatness in you to evolve? Do you have what it takes to get to the apex of greatness? Or, are you going to allow fear of the unknown, difficulties of life’s circumstance and the threat of death deprive you of greatness? Are you going to retreat to the land of mediocrity and meaninglessness because of fear of paying the price?

Most people choose to live ordinary and mundane lives for the fear of discomfort, sacrifice, and the threat of death that is often concomitant with true greatness. Les Brown, author and motivational speaker said, “You cannot get out of life alive!”

Regardless of what stance you take or what road you take in life, you will eventually kick the bucket. Stand for the seed of greatness in you and pay the price to make it known to the world before your departure to glory.

All great people have the following common characteristics:

• Passion – Is the desire and drive to sacrifice or suffer for what you believe in even unto death. Former British Prime Minister and writer, Benjamin Disraeli argues that “Man is only great when he acts from passion.”

• Singleness of Purpose – All great people are focused. They know exactly what they want out of life and what life requires of them. American Businessman and author, Paul J. Meyer advised, “Determine what specific goal you want to achieve. Then dedicate yourself to its attainment with unswerving singleness of purpose, the trenchant zeal of a crusader.”

• Determination- The mental resolve to hold on till the end regardless of the threat and discomfort. American martial artist, actor, film producer and screenwriter, Chuck Norris said “I’ve always found that anything worth achieving will always have obstacles in the way and you’ve got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles on route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish.”

• Persistence- The staying power (the ability) to outlast situations and opposition. The 30th President of the United States of America, Calvin Coolidge believed that “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

• Accountability- Subjecting yourself to high values and disciplines. Judging one’s self in order not to be judged, i.e. Responsibility to one’s self. British Conservative politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill believed, “The price of greatness is responsibility.”

• Diligence- All great people do whatever it takes to succeed in the cause they believe in, no matter how menial and unrecognized it may seem. American businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc., Mary Kay Ash wrote, “You can have anything in this world you want, and if you want it badly enough and you’re willing to pay the price.”

If your seed of greatness is to be a homemaker, a politician, a nurse, a medical doctor, corporate executive, a military or police officer, a pastor—regardless of what your dream is in life there is a price to be paid.

The tenacity to pay the price for greatness empowers you to ignore the discomforts, challenges, the opposing pressure, and the temporary failures. Hence, let us not set our eyes solemnly on the glitz and reward of greatness but rather the process and responsibility of greatness which is the price to pay.

Martin Luther King, Jr. declared, “If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”

English poet, short-story writer, and novelist, Joseph Rudyard Kipling wrote, “If you don’t get what you want, it’s a sign either that you did not seriously want it, or that you tried to bargain over the price.”

Always remember, the greatness of your life determines the price to pay.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it,” says Henry David Thoreau.

Discover Your Greatness!

The author is a psychologist and motivational speaker.


Source: Dr. Ignatius K Otchere-Asamoah |