I believe anyone can be great, even you. All you have to do is find your way. When we’re born, we start out with a unique set of skills and talents. By finding the right combination of these two things, we can reach our potential. To find your sweet spot, you just need to be patient and keep experimenting. After that, it’s time for you to put in the long hours and hard work. The more you are willing to give, the more you will ultimately get.
While Thomas Edison is best be remembered for his achievements, he also delivered many important insights into the idea of invention. For example, Edison often stressed doing over thinking. He’d say that genius was 99% about hard work (“perspiration”). One of my favorite quotes is the one used in the concluding post of this campaign: “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
I still remember that day like it was yesterday. It was early in the first year of my PhD program in Physical Therapy at the University of Miami when my advisor and committee called me into a formal meeting. You have to maintain a high level of work to stay in the program and I was right at the line. I remember sitting in that room with all of my male professors.
To imagine the Self in contrast to the expectations of Others is always a challenging balancing act. For instance, when a parent doesn’t support your passing hobbies, you can overlook it. But what happens when passions and dreams are involved? Stef had little interest playing tea with other girls when she was 8, despite her mother’s best efforts. She didn’t like dolls; she didn’t want to dress up. She just wanted to play soccer with the rough and tumble boys. Numerous playdates later, Stef’s desire didn’t waver.
What does this bar mean to me? My bar, and its burden, represents the difficult road to achieving personal greatness. We have our own ideas about what greatness looks like and this is defined by our personal struggles and desires. My struggle chews me up and my desire burns me up. These two feelings can be a lot to handle. But this inner dynamic creates an outer benefit too – laser-like focus that I crave and need. Life is full of so much noise – distractions, temptations, expectations and condemnations. Focus helps you get closer to greatness, and as you do, these distracting sounds become more distant – like my past.