I keep looking at today’s leaders. There are many who call themselves leaders. They run the companies, the government, the religious houses, the sports teams, the financial world and other segments of our society. Some are good, some are decent and some are downright awful in leading. Based on the image they present, one might call them successful. They control, they are financially successful and they appear to be smart. Some even outsmart themselves. Herein lies the question. Are any of them great? What is involved in greatness? How do we separate greatness from successful. Certainly we have many successful people in our midst. Here in the United States we generally judge a person’s success by their bank account and their appearance of money. I took out my lantern and started looking at greatness. I came to the conclusion the last great leader in the United States was probably Abraham Lincoln. He wasn’t just smart, he was wise. He was tapped in spiritually and was somewhat of a seer. He could control, be decisive and yet, never lost his humanity or his humility. Where is that greatness today?
I read Wallace Wattles excellent book “The Wisdom of Wallace Wattles” many years ago. Many people have used his information and written many books, including “The Secret”. They have created self-help groups based on Wallace’s teachings, they feature prosperity in particular (very American) but miss his section on “The Science of Being Great”. I suggest you get Wallace’s book and read the second section on greatness. Most people focus on the section called “The Science of Getting Rich” but I like to look at greatness. It seems such a rare commodity. Here are a few of his comments about greatness.
“Wisdom is the essential basis of greatness. Wisdom is the power to perceive the best ends to aim at and the best means for reaching those ends. It is the power to perceive the right thing to do.
Wisdom is dependent on knowledge. Where there is complete ignorance there can be no wisdom, no knowledge of the right thing to do. Only God or the Universal Power knows all truth; therefore only the Source can have real wisdom or the right thing to do at all times and individuals can receive wisdom from the Source.
Great people are always greater than their deeds.
You can never become a great man or woman until you have overcome anxiety, worry and fear. It is impossible for an anxious person, a worried one, or a fearful one to perceive truth; all things are distorted and thrown out of their proper relations by such mental states, and those who are in them cannot read the thoughts of God.
Cast out pride and vanity; have no thought of trying to rule over others or of outdoing them.
The distinguishing characteristic of all really great men and women is an unwavering faith. We see this in Lincoln during the dark days of the war.
The person who has no faith in principle will always be a small person. You must learn to see the world as being produced by evolution, as something that is evolving and becoming, not a finished work.
You cannot be ruled from below if you are to be great; you must rule from above.
Remember that poise and power are inseparably associated. The calm and balanced mind is the strong and great mind; the hurried and agitated mind is the weak one.
Habitual thought and not environment or circumstance has made you what you are. Greatness is only attained by the constant thinking of great thoughts. No person can become great in outward personality until he/she is great internally; and no person can be great internally until he/she THINKS.
Thinking, not mere knowledge or information, makes personality. Thinking is growth: you cannot think without growing.
You will manifest greatness only when you begin to stand alone. You are not made great by what you receive from others, and you can never manifest greatness so long as you depend on others.
Ask no honors and seek for no recognition, honors and recognition will come fast enough if you are entitled to them.
You are truly a great soul when you can live with those who do things that you do not do, and yet refrain from either criticism or interference (particularly true with family members).
The average person’s idea of a great person, rather than of one who serves, is one who succeeds in getting himself served. The possession of dollars gives a man power over other men. It develops able men, cunning men, resourceful men, but NOT great men.
Lincoln was a great man because he know how to be a great servant.”
I think you get the picture. I don’t see any great leaders out there today. I think Nelson Mandella, perhaps Martin Luther King was great but where is our modern day greatness? Wallace goes on to say that leaders reflect their society. It makes me wonder how far or not we have come. We cannot act in the past and we cannot act in the future as it not yet here. If we act in the present time with our minds on the future, our present action will be with a divided mind and will not be effective. He goes on to say that you can act upon the environment in which you are now as to cause yourself to be transferred to a better environment. Act now, holding on to the vision of what you want.
Here’s to people making society rise with a better heart and a more hopeful spirit. Look upon civilization as a good thing that is becoming better. “It is all perfect, though incomplete.” Just don’t mistake success for greatness.
“Some people study all their lives, and at their death they have learned everything except to think.” Domergue.
I’ve been discussing many of these topics with others lately. Your blog was a ‘perfect timing’ post for me! Thank you.
Wisdom is a quality that is acquired. Whether I have acquired some time will tell.
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Loved This. Thank You.
I would also like to say to Andrea, that WE, don’t need to do anything to anyone’s character.
Greatness is Not forced upon someone. Someone, is born w/ greatness.
Loved this, Gail. To create future great leaders, we must develop people’s character, so they operate from impeccable values, wisdom and clarity. Their greatness will stem from these qualities mixed with a heartfelt desire to do the highest good to serve all people, with no designs on personal gain. It is a walk down an alone path, one fed by faith, insight, knowledge and wisdom. And it is a person operating from higher understanding, applying it to the everyday world. That is greatness incarnate.
In reading your other posts, Gail, maybe the great leaders will be the women who are about to emerge!
Crises have a way of forging great leaders. If it had not been for General George Patton, the ONLY military leader the Germans feared, we might all be speaking Deutsch. Interestingly enough, shortly after the end of WWII, Patton was crossing the street and died after being hit by a car.
Great leaders are often only recognized as such many years after they are gone. Sometimes we even have a more “romantic” opinion of them after the total reality has faded. Give it time. Tumultuous times provide opportunities for great leaders to take the stage.