I remind young people everywhere I go, one of the worst things the older generation did was to tell them for twenty-five years “Be successful, be successful, be successful” as opposed to “Be great, be great, be great”. There’s a qualitative difference.
- Cornel West
The first time I read the above quote, I felt some deep stirring in myself. I knew I agreed, but I didn't know what to do. Over time I have realized that I always focused on being successful. I was never focusing on being great. Once I came to full realization, I decided to do something about it. I decided I wanted to be great.
I have found the transition from a focus on success to a focus on greatness is difficult. I have found myself increasingly frustrated, because I only really know how to be successful. That is what we are training our society to be in our education system. We focus on the short term. Pass the next test. Finish the next assignment. We lose sight of the final goal. I lost sight of all of my goals.
My goal is to be an innovator in my field. My goal is to push the boundaries of the technology I use. My goal is to speak about what I have done and motivate others to be great. I want to create something different. I want to inspire others to create something different.
My goal is to encourage and enhance education. My goal is to make sure every student has access to science, math, art, music, literature, history, and any other subject they are interested in. I want to help students to learn and be great themselves. I want to support a society that supported me.
I think by focusing on these goals, I can be great. I will be great, because I am trying to help others be great.
Whenever I have doubts, I read that quote, and then I watch this:
Carl Sagan is an excellent source for inspiration.