Where Does Greatness Lie?

Where does greatness lie? The answer is simple: in doing more for others than we do for ourselves.

Throughout history, the measure of greatness, in its fullest and most enduring definition, is constant: it is the scale, scope, and weight of contributions (not acquisitions or conquests) by women and men to their fellow human beings.

So when we seek wealth, let us include charity. When we seek power, let us include compassion. When we seek fame, let us include anonymous acts of generosity and kindness.

For without these added ingredients, our accomplishments may be notable, but they will never be great.

  • BGT

12 thoughts on “Where Does Greatness Lie?

  1. This reminds me of one of my favorite Biblical passages, 1st Corinthians 10:24 “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” There is no glory to obtaining wealth without concern for your fellow man. Very wise words Byron. Thank you.

  2. I am not born of old money but have supposedly high IQ, work more in science, and seem to be doing better financially by focusing on work and investments. I live in a large city and everything is fast paced. It seems like you can fall off the treadmill and descend into financial ruin, even with a good income. When I act kind at work, I feel like I invite being treated like a doormat. Thus tend to focus on the self and work.

    I have not been so active in charity, major acts of generosity, etc. I used to like church but lost interest. When I started working a few people exhorted me to give back, but my attitude was a bit of “give what back?” Now I am feeling more economically stable, though perhaps harder of heart than when younger, and am thinking that shifting a focus a bit on charity and generosity may be a good next step.

    1. Hi Dan, thank you for sharing. It is tricky to know when and with whom to be generous. You’re to be commended for your self-awareness: you seem to feel economically7 comfortable at this point in your life, so you can look at potential charities to support. Good for you. My family focuses on education. Do you have something your passionate about that you’d consider contributing time and/or money to?

      I’m sure our readers can offer their experiences and advice on how (and how much) to be generous. Thanks again. – BGT

    2. One way that I contribute is by being an educator to the less fortunate. Being charitable in vocation is definitely a great way to give without counting the pennies. Because that is not always feasible, another option is feeding starving children in third world countries. You don’t have to think that it is $37 dollars a month, rather that it is 10 children every day for one month. Make it $370 a month and now you feed 100 children every single day. Count your victories one child at a time. No amount is too small.

  3. Hi Byron. There are many ways to be charitable, and it doesn’t always have to be about money. My husband and I are both animal lovers, and we support our local humane shelters with donations of money but also with needed supplies, old blankets, food, volunteering time at shelters, etc. We also support the WWF with annual donations and also National Geographic. I like to support programs that empower women, especially women and young girls from modest backgrounds, not because I’m some big feminist..not hardly…but because we all need role models and mentors, people who have been there and gotten out, so to speak. Giving back doesn’t always have to be about money…even just helping out elderly parents or people in your church or community can be meaningful.

  4. Much could be said on this topic and every comment above is worthy.

    That old saying, and I wish I knew its source, guides me when it comes to charity: “Give a man a fish and you feed him today. Teach him how to fish and you feed him forever.”

    So, education and skills are the wonderful agents of empowerment.

    1. Exactly. ‘Agents of empowerment’ and tools for upward mobility. Essential for a vibrant middle class and a responsible upper class. Indispensable for a healthy democracy. Don’t get me started… – BGT

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