Archives For greatness

Vanity….

February 20, 2013
Banner - Will Rogers
No man is great if he thinks he is. – 1 March 1929   Will Rogers

VanityVanity is a powerful force in us human beings. We all like to think that we are great in one aspect or another. After all, none of us want to go through life thinking we have not made at least a small dent in this world.  Some are humble about their greatness. Gandhi and Mother Teresa immediately come to mind in that category. But for every humble person there are thousands who think they are greater than they are.

Thinking you are great when you aren’t is something that seems epidemic in Washington DC. It must be something in the water that creates that illusion.  Anybody that has done any studying of our current political scene knows that 99.9% of what goes on there is about power and self-preceived greatness. I swear I just can’t understand how the Capital Building can even accommodate all those inflated egos without exploding.

But lets not limit inflated egos to the beltway. They are also massively prevalent in some of the more affluent parts of our society.  Any guy who managed to find a niche that allowed him to make some money thinks the rest of us are idiots.  Some of these folks believe because they made a few bucks  that they are now great and can rule over the rest of us with their greatness. They tell their employees how they want them to vote. They keep wages low so that they can brag about all their ever accumulating wealth. They just love being a big fish, even in a small pond.

Thinking that you are great is something that all of us, me included, need to get over.  God, who is the ultimate judge of greatness,  loves that little baby who just died in Africa due to malnutrition just as much as any of the rest of us. When we thoroughly understand that then we just might able to achieve some small level of greatness.

Thanks Will for your words of wisdom….

Advertisements

Great Men…

January 3, 2012

‎. . . no man is great if he thinks he is. – March 1, 1929  Will Rogers

This one sentence said a lot about people in Will’s day but maybe even more so in today’s world. In a nutshell, anyone who thinks they are great aren’t!  It is as simple as that. Thinking that you are great will almost certainly assure that your greatness is in your mind only. The really great people all the way from Moses through Lincoln  and beyond never assumed they were meant for greatness.

There are several conditions that lead to thinking you are great. Some call it ego, some say it is “getting a big head”, some are just too full of themselves to see the real greatness around them. Sports jocks and entertainers seem to fall into this condition most frequently. Look at Elvis or Michael Jackson to see how they spiraled into drugs because they let people convince them they were great. I am not at all attuned to the sports world but it seems there is a fallen athlete almost every month.

Humility is, at least in my mind, a precursor to true greatness. Einstein never took himself too seriously and never lost his talent of talking with ordinary people. He enjoyed a conversation with his barber (yeah he actually had one) as much as with fellow scientists. Will Rogers, a personal hero of mine, never looked on himself as anything but a half-breed cowboy who happened to have a way with words and making others smile. Yeah, he made a lot of money, especially as it was during the Great Depression, but he never got a big head over it.

Thinking you are great versus actually being great is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in politics today.  Given the millions of dollars that need to be raised and the months if not years required in campaigning it is hard to see where a truly great humanitarian could end up or for that matter even want to be president. The only ones who seem to want to endure the pains to be president are those who think they are great. Is it even possible for truly great people to end up leadership roles in our government today?

The final area I want to talk about on this topic is religion.  There are just too many preachers and theologians in the religious community who are convinced that they are great. I spent pretty much three years of my life studying one after another seeking the great ones. There are so many of them who think they are great that they come to believe that their opinions of theological matters are the only ones that are correct. In other words, they are convinced that they alone have the true knowledge of God.  Talk about having a big head!!  Yes, there are a few who have the humility to be great but they seem to be very much the exception rather than the rule in today’s religious world. Just look at all the fallen TV evangelists the last few years to see examples of what I mean. Then there are other so called religious leaders such as Bin Laden who are nothing but fanatics dressed in religious robes. Religion is getting a bad rep lately because of  all these types of guys. We need to get back to the pure and simple words of Jesus to really know what Christianity is supposed to be about.  We should not let the theological “big heads” push us in any different direction.

Oh, by the way this saying applies to nations as well as people. “If you think you are great then you aren’t”.

But what do I know….