I love to read
by Walker Wellington, VP of Finance & Development
I love to read. My morning routine is built around maximizing the time I can devote to reading. I have two bookshelves to hold all my books – one for what I have already read.
and another for books I plan to read.
One of my favorite subjects to read about is society’s great people, historical or present day. Biographies about great leaders, war heroes, presidents, political leaders, business people, inventors, and innovators are not only great stories, but also great sources of inspiration and learning. I, however, often find myself frustrated when reading these stories.
I’ve realized this frustration comes from a challenging of my assumptions. Mistakenly, I have assumed society’s great people are far superior to “ordinary people” in their God given traits. While this is true in some cases, I believe, in most, it is the exception rather than the rule. As I read book after book, I am reminded of the ordinariness of many of society’s greatest people. It is the ordinariness of the stories that make them simultaneously compelling, inspirational, and frustrating.
I am continually reminded of four traits that many of society’s great people share:
A willingness to act courageously in spite of fear.
A relentless pursuit of excellence.
A clear reason behind their chosen pursuit.
An ability to learn from both failure and success.
This list doesn’t contain any new pieces of wisdom. These are not things available to a select group of people. We all are capable of putting these into practice. Hence my frustration! I get frustrated realizing that I am letting opportunities to be great pass me by. I am acting in ways that are contrary to the four traits I listed above. Far too often, I find myself…
Allowing fear to stifle action.
Settling for average and status quo.
Having no reason behind my pursuits.
Striving only for success and being unwilling to fail and learn.
What I’ve learned from my reading is that each of us is born into a specific time and place where life sends us a variety of circumstances and situations. The choices we make responding to those circumstances and situations generate different outcomes. Through our choices – good, bad and everything in between, we all have the opportunity to be great. The greatness you pursue should not be defined by anyone but you. Define it for yourself and chase after it relentlessly. In doing so, you will be great!