Yes!  You Can Be Great!

A school music teacher received this essay from an eight-year-old student concerning Johann Sebastian Bach: "He was a GREAT composer. He had 20 children and had an old spinster in the attic to practice on."

Now, I don't know the exact number of children he had, as many did not survive. Nor do I know what he kept in the attic. But the question I have is this: do you believe you should be great?

Not all of us can be great at what we do -- music, teaching, research, carpentry, sales, etc., -- but we can all become great individuals. It's about being great at who we are, great as human beings.

Author James Michener learned about the importance of greatness on a stormy night in the South Pacific. His plane was trying desperately to land on the Tontouta airstrip but could not do so. After several attempts in the dark of night, his knuckles were white with fear. When they finally landed safely, Michener went out and walked the length of the airstrip, looking at the dim outlines of the mountains they had so narrowly missed. He wrote this:

"And as I stood there in the darkness I caught a glimpse of the remaining years of my life and I swore an oath when peace came, if I survived, I would live the rest of my years 'as if I were a great man.' I did not presume to think that I would be a great man. I have never thought in those terms, but I could conduct myself as if I were. I would adhere to my basic principles. I would bear public testimony to what I believed. I would be a better man. I would help others. I would truly believe and act as if all men were my brothers. And I would strive to make whatever world in which I found myself a better place. In the darkness a magnificent peace settled over me, for I saw that I could actually attain each of those objectives, and I never looked back.

"Two immediate consequences: I started the next day to draft the book TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC. And shortly thereafter my entire staff, flying back to Tontouta, hit one of those shadowy mountains and all were killed. I'd had cause to be white-knuckled." *
Do you believe you should be great? If greatness is a life that adheres to basic principles, a life of service to others and one dedicated to the betterment of all, then your answer is simple. We can each be great individuals and, in fact, should strive to be. For greatness comes from a dedication to help, not from mere accomplishment, no matter the magnitude.

Do you believe you should be great? What step will you take today?

~ Steve Goodier ~

* Michener quote comes from "OUT OF THE BLUE: Delight Comes Into Our Lives," by Mark Victor Hansen & Barbara Nichols with Patty Hansen (HarperCollins, 1996).

[ by: Steve Goodier Copyright © 2006 ( -- {used with permission} ]

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