Edit: Thank you to the 80k civilization who have actually check out this piece. It looks favor many kind of world are struggling with the principle of "greatness". Let"s continue to support one one more on the journey there.

Over the years, we’ve all encountered our fair share of successes and failures. As I’ve got more of both under my name, I’ve began to contemplate which experiences were truly “great” and why.

You are watching: What it takes to be great

Interestingly enough, I realized that it was not the thin highs that were superior, however rather the long hauls; the sequences of events that seemed minimal at each time, but compounded into significant gains. This led me to think even more about what greatness truly indicates. I’ve involved learn that it’s not about overnight successes or flashes of excellence, however periods of repeatable behavior.

Perhaps “great’, is just “good”, however repeatable.

Consider This

Before stepping into the bulk of this write-up, I desire to clarify two things:

Greatness is not instantaneousGreatness is earned

The initially action in becoming good is recognizing that you’re likely not currently excellent. In fact, it originates from recognizing that there is no such point as greatness at a certain circumstances in time. Greatness is rather a reflection of a period of initiative, given that greatness in a single circumstances can be reduced to luck.

Furthermore, being “great” is not about being much better than someone else. It is around being dependable and also disciplined, and ultimately it is earned.

Many civilization, in theory, want to be “great”. In truth, each month 1000 civilization search “exactly how to be great”, 260 civilization search “just how to come to be perfect”, and also 2400 human being search “exactly how to be the best”, searching for discrete answers on exactly how to gain from 0 to 1. Yet, many kind of world in life realistically execute not desire to put in the effort over a sustained duration of time to actually get to 1. They are looking for the “secrets to success” that in many kind of methods, execute not exist. You recognize what brings success? Hard work-related brings success.

So before proceeding forward in this post, I implore each of you to take into consideration that if greatness truly is a reflection of non-instantaneous, earned effort, ask yourself if that’s the life you’d like to live. Ask yourself whether you’d prefer to spfinish your days, weeks, months, and years in a consistent uphill battle.

If you inevitably find that you don’t desire to do that, that’s fine! It doesn’t make you much less of a perchild. At leastern you’ve damaged from the holding pattern of reasoning you desire to carry out X but not expertise why you haven’t gained there yet. And if that’s the case, go gain your Netflix and chill totally guilt-totally free.

With that in mind, let’s dive into what truly renders someone “great’.

It’s Hard to be Consistent

There’s a false impression that success or notoriety comes via being flashy. This idea originates from the media concentrating on outliers, whether it be events or individualities which diverge from the norm. Not just have the right to this encourage human being to aim for notoriety simply for the sake of it (think Elizabeth Holmes), but it makes the remainder of us believe that correlation (of those outliers) is causation; in various other words, success of those individuals is as a result of their offbeat means. But here’s an additional storyline: the many sure and also therefore the best means to “success” is via consistency.

“Until you work-related as difficult as those you admire, don’t describe away their success as luck.” - James Clear, Atomic Habits

To be clear, consistency isn’t necessarily the easiest method to success, but one that deserve to be accomplished via a higher level of certainty, fairly than hoping for a lottery win or someone to “discover” you. Continuous effort is a more thoughtful method that leads to greatness as soon as the following statements are true:

Inputs are continuous over timeIntentional inputs lead to intended outputs


“No one who can rise prior to dawn 3 hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich” - Outliers

Tright here is a famous saying from Napolean Hill which says, “If you cannot do excellent things, do little things in an excellent way”. I would certainly actually argue the quote must be, “If you cannot do great points, do small points a great number of times”.

If you don’t have the chance to “carry out good things”, focus on continuously achieving tiny wins. These small things in truth perform not have to be done in an excellent method, yet a great means, repeatably. In reality, I would advise not to emphasis on perfection, as it is regularly the enemy of the effective.

There’s glimmer and also hoopla roughly unpredictability, but in reality, it’s a lot more challenging and also therefore exceptional, to be predictably good. For example:

It’s basic to wake up whenever you “feel prefer it”. It’s tough to stick to a regime of gaining up at 6AM.It’s basic to pivot from side project to side job, focusing on the new shiny object of the month.It’s difficult to stick via a side task for years, many of which may not be profitable for a lengthy while. It’s basic to provide up on someone as soon as you hit a roadblock or the following potential partner becomes easily accessible. It’s difficult to be faithful and invest in a partnership for years.

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We commonly collection out in life via good intentions. We intend to set a morning program or work-related on a service till it"s profitable or to “love someone forever”. We imagine that as we invest in somepoint, we will normally continue to move in the appropriate direction. If anypoint, points will acquire easier, right?


The described trajectory is what we perceive on the left. Predictable, straight, and a straight reflection of effort put in.

Radepend does success in anything look choose that. Life is a series of tiny nodes that tend to look even more favor the best hand also side. Tbelow 2 key aspects worth calling out in the more realistic graph on the right:

Compounding is constantly existing. The previously measures in any kind of procedure will certainly be even more strenuous, yet it’s hard to imagine the potential compounding that comes later on. With the ups, tbelow are constantly downs. This seems noticeable, yet we often forget this once we are in periods of down. We quit at these neighborhood minimums (the highlighted sections in red above), because we cannot see the next top appropriate roughly the corner.

a friend just emailed me this note in response to my 'burn out' video. wanted to share;'the addiction to having success is what renders you feel uneffective at the times as soon as you're not feeling the immediate dopamine hit of your work 'succeeding' at that exact minute.'