When I was a boy, I would read those postcards and know exactly why my father was doing what he was doing: he was taking a stab at greatness, that is, if greatness is simply another word for doing something different from what you were already doing-or maybe greatness is the thing we want to have so that other people will want to have us, or maybe greatness is merely the grail for our unhappy, striving selves, the thing we think we need but don't and can't get anyway.
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I don't believe in greatness that is bestowed as a rare gift to a few lucky ones. Rather, I think all people have greatness inside them. It is just a matter of persistence-sticking to what you have envisioned until it is reality. I have a deep conviction that everyone, including you, has been given exactly the right set of gifts to fulfill some magnificent purpose in life. Greatness must simply be chosen. And if you choose it, it will happen.
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It's because I haven't courage, ' said Samuel. 'I could never quite take the responsibility. When the Lord God did not call my name, I might have called his name - but I did not. There you have the difference between greatness and mediocrity. It's not an uncommon disease. But it's nice for a mediocre man to know that greatness must be the loneliest state in the world.' 'I'd think there are degrees of greatness, ' Adam said. 'I don't think so, ' said Samuel. 'That would be like saying there is a little bigness. No. I believe when you come to that responsibility the hugeness and you are alone to make your choice. On one side you have warmth and companionship and sweet understanding, and on the other - cold, lonely greatness. There you make your choice. I'm glad I chose mediocrity, but how am I to say what reward might have come with the other? None of my children will be great either, except perhaps Tom. He's suffering over the choosing right now. It's a painful thing to watch. And somewhere in me I want him to say yes. Isn't that strange? A father to want his son condemned to greatness! What selfishness that must be.
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To write about him is to write about Greatness. To discuss him is to discuss Intellectual Brilliance. To think of him is to think of Modesty, Simplicity and Lucidity. To remember him is to remember Nationalism at its finest hour. He was not one of those who merely achieved greatness nor certainly one of those upon whom greatness was thrust-he was in fact born great.
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The man who is anybody and who does anything is surely going to be criticized, vilified, and misunderstood. This is a part of the penalty for greatness, and every great man understands it; and understands, too, that it is no proof of greatness. The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure contumely without resentment.
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Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man.
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Some are born to greatness; some achieve greatness; some have greatness thrust upon them.' It is in this way that the librarian has become a censor of literature... books that distinctly commend what is wrong, that teach how to sin and how pleasant sin is, sometimes with and sometimes without the added sauce of impropriety, are increasingly popular, tempting to the author to imitate them, the publishers to produce, the bookseller to exploit. Thank heaven they do not tempt the librarian.
Arthur E. Bostwick
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Man is so great that his greatness appears even in the consciousness of his misery. A tree does not know itself to be miserable. It is true that it is misery indeed to know one's self to be miserable; but then it is greatness also. In this way, all man's miseries go to prove his greatness. They are the miseries of a mighty potentate, of a dethroned monarch.
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The greatness comes not when things go always good for you. But the greatness comes when you're really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes. Because only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.
Richard M. Nixon
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In order to do something you've never done, you've got to become someone you've never been. I think that all of us have great potential within us, but greatness is a choice; it's not our destiny. And in the pursuit of our dreams we are introduced to trials, failures and disappointments , which take us to the door of discovery and greatness.
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If an immigrant comes here, and they're willing to create jobs, and they're willing to contribute to our economy, we have to make it easier for the kinds of immigrants we want, because that is the past of America; that's our greatness, and that will continue to be our greatness in the future.
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What's that around your neck?' asked Emily. 'It's a golden star.' Said Reed. 'What did you get it for?' 'Chemistry class.' 'What's the star for?' the shadow asked, Usually stars represent a straight A student. 'You get it for having greatness. But Emily doesn't know what that is.' He said, answering the shadows question and looking at Emily. 'Greatness, what's greatness?' Emily asked, all wide eyed, and clueless looking 'It's when you do really awesome stuff, and people recognize you for it.' 'Oh, no' Emily laughed.'No, I don't know what that is.
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Many are so preoccupied with what others think it defines their existence. When we fixate externally, it keeps us from truly knowing ourselves and our destiny. Most [people] fear looking inward for worry they won't find greatness, but when you stop allowing others to define your worth, you'll see""greatness exists in us all, waiting to be"¨ expressed
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Without the existance of people to acknowledge or dispute your greatness, your greatness is irrelevant. You are because they are. Without them, no matter how they treat you, you would not exist. Treat all the world as if you owe it your gratitude, because even the cruel and heartless define who you are.
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The character of greatness must be measured in two ways, else the measurement is flawed. First, and by far most popular of all, is by one's ability to succeed in times of trial where others may fail. But of no less importance, and perhaps foundational to any form of greatness, is one's willingness to start over in spite of failure, when success seems farthest away.
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We will never get great art from women if their education exposes them only to the second-rate and if the idea of greatness itself is denied. Greatness is not a white male trick. Every important world civilization has defined its artistic tradition in elitist terms of distinction and excellence.
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Whoever has not arrived at the clear insight that there might be greatness entirely outside his own sphere for which he has no understanding, whoever does not have at least a dim inkling in which area of the human spirit this greatness might be situated: he is within his own sphere either without genius, or he has not educated himself up to the point of the classical attitude.
Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel
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It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness. It is more dangerous yet to leave him ignorant of either; but very beneficial that he should be made sensible of both.
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Anecdote: Greatness Means Leading the Way. No stream is large and copious of itself, but becomes great by receiving and leading on so many tributary streams. It is so, also, with all intellectual greatness, It is only a question of someone indicating the direction to be followed by so many affluent; not whether he was richly or poorly gifted originally.
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Faced with a world of "modern ideas" which would like to banish everyone into a corner and a "specialty," a philosopher, if there could be a philosopher these days, would be compelled to establish the greatness of mankind, the idea of "greatness," on the basis of his own particular extensive range and multiplicity, his own totality in the midst of diversity.
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False greatness is unsociable and remote: conscious of its own frailty, it hides, or at least averts its face, and reveals itself only enough to create an illusion and not be recognized as the meanness that it really is. True greatness is free, kind, familiar and popular; it lets itself be touched and handled, it loses nothing by being seen at close quarters; the better one knows it, the more one admires it.
Jean de la Bruyere
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Like art, like music, like so many other disciplines, prayer can only be appreciated when you actually spend time in it. Spending time with the Master will elevate your thinking. The more you pray, the more will be revealed. You will appreciate not only the greatness of prayer, but the greatness of God.
Joni Eareckson Tada
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No one knows how greatness comes to a man. It may lie in his blackness, sleeping, or it may lance into him like those driven fiery particles from outer space. These things, however, are known about greatness: need gives it life and puts it in action; it never comes without pain; it leaves a man changed, chastened, and exalted at the same time--he can never return to simplicity.
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Every day, in every moment, you get to exercise choices that will determine whether or not you will become a great person, living a great life. Greatness is not something predetermined, predestined or carved into your fate by forces beyond your control. Greatness is always in the moment of the decision.
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To understand antiquity's idea of man, we must examine its gods and heroes, myths and legends. In these we find the classical prototype of genuine man... the will to greatness, wealth, power and fame. Anything opposed to it falls short of the authentically human... What a world of difference between this conception and that to which Christ has led us!... Jesus' friends are in no way remarkable for their talent or character. He who considers the apostles or disciples great from a human or religious point of view raises the suspicion that he is unacquainted with true greatness. Moreover, he is confusing standards, for the apostle and disciple have nothing to do with such greatness. Their uniqueness consists of their being sent, of their God-given role of pillars for the coming salvation.
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Some philosophers tell us that selfishness is at the root of our best loves and affections. Mr. Dombey's young child was, from the beginning, so distinctly important to him as a part of his own greatness, or (which is the same thing) of the greatness of Dombey and Son, that there is no doubt his parental affection might have been easily traced, like many a goodly superstructure of fair fame, to a very low foundation.
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Philosophy takes as her aim the state of happiness...she shows us what are real and what are only apparent evils. She strips men's minds of empty thinking, bestows a greatness that is solid and administers a check to greatness where it is puffed up and all an empty show; she sees that we are left no doubt about the difference between what is great and what is bloated.
Seneca the Younger
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That's the reason I believe in the power of prayer, because I believe you have to be able to first believe in a being superior to you, You have to believe in God and once you're able to believe in God and embrace the greatness of the creator, then you're able to believe in yourself and embrace the greatness that God put into you and each of us, and you're able to tap into that. But there will be days.
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