An Excerpt from Stephen Covey's New Book, Everyday Greatness
I believe that the majority of people in this world are good people doing good things, and that we should not let the noise of the negative minority drown out the steady sound of good that is around us.
But let me also say this. While so many of us are up to good things and probably deserve more credit than we give ourselves, most of us know that the good we are doing does not always represent our best. And so in our quieter moments, we sense there is still more we can be getting out of life, more we can be giving.
Isn't that true for you?
I like to approach life with the belief that my most important work is always ahead of me, not behind me, and my personal motto is "Live life in crescendo." As a result, I feel a persisting desire to stretch myself in new directions, to look for worthy ways to make a difference. And when I personally experience the desire for life enhancement, I find it valuable to have a resource such as this collection available for reading and reflection. Gathered by Reader's Digest from decades of classic "success" literature and from many of the most currently respected people around the globe, it is a true treasury of timeless principles and practical insights for optimizing life—a collection for our times.
Occasionally, the world witnesses a heroic feat or discovers a person with rare talent. Every now and then, a scientist makes a pivotal discovery or an engineer designs a revolutionary device. Each decade or so, a pair of politicians sign a bold peace initiative. Annually, extravagant affairs tout the year's best actors, musicians, athletes, and salespeople, while hometown festivals crown the person who can eat the most chili peppers or sound the best yodel.Such singular events and accomplishments often appear in sizzling media headlines under the banner of "greatness." And in most cases they do represent a type of greatness that is deserving of attention and applause. For many of them represent achievements that move society forward in significant, progressive ways, while others simply add a much needed measure of spice and humor to life.
But most people know there is another type of greatness that tends to be more quiet by nature, one that generally escapes the headlines. Yet, it is a greatness that in my opinion is deserving of higher honor, even more respect. I call it "Everyday Greatness."
Everyday Greatness is what I have called, in other settings, "primary greatness." It has to do with character and contribution, as distinguished from "secondary greatness," which has to do with notoriety, wealth, fame, prestige, or position. Everyday Greatness is a way of living, not a one-time event. It says more about who a person is than what a person has, and is portrayed more by the goodness that radiates from a face than the title on a business card. It speaks more about people's motives than about their talents; more about small and simple deeds than about grandiose accomplishments. It is humble.
When asked to describe Everyday Greatness, people typically respond with descriptions of individuals they know personally, such as a farmer who year in and year out weathers the storms of life, provides for family, and helps neighbors. Or a mother who knows she is not perfect but who perseveres in doing her everyday best to exhibit unconditional love to a challenging child. They describe a grandparent, a teacher, a work colleague, a neighbor, or a friend who is always dependable, honest, hardworking, and respectful of others. Above all, they describe someone who is within reach of emulation, sensing that they do not have to be the next Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln or Mother Teresa to exhibit Everyday Greatness.
Yes, the type of people they describe when trying to define Everyday Greatness are the people who, despite the negative noise in the world, still somehow find ways to step up and do their part to make a positive contribution. The key is that it is all part of who they are every day.
I believe that you are one of the people I spoke of in the beginning—one who is already up to good things in a world that shouts so much of turmoil. You have experiences and talents exclusive to you. Trust them. Use them to improve upon the many insights in this collection. But above all, make the three choices.
Act upon life.
Attach yourself to meaningful, uplifting purposes.
Live in accordance with timeless, universal principles.
As you do, I have firm confidence that you will find greater joy, more peace of mind, and an enhanced feeling of worth that comes through living a life of Everyday Greatness.
Here is the interview with Stephen Covey.
Let's make everyday a great day!!!
Life should be filled with purpose, not emptiness (yeah, Autumnmusic?).