Friday, August 25, 2006

What makes a person great?

I previously mentioned having downloaded the free ebook As a Man Thinketh. Since then I receive an email just about every other day trying to get me to buy something else from the website that I got the book from. Today the email is trying to sell Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill., which is a pretty good book. Today's email stated:
"Several months ago I came across an audiobook biography of Hill
and it was an eye-opening adventure into the life of a man
whose days were not the "smooth sailing" I had always assumed
they were.
....
I now understand that he didn't write about some "theory" of how
to think and grow rich. He wrote from experience -- his
numerous experiences and the experiences of America's most
successful." --Vic Johnson

This got me thinking about the question "What is it that we identify with in people who are great?"

I identify with people who have had to overcome obstacles to gain their greatness. Someone who starts off rich and stays there is just a spoiled child who was handed everything, but overcoming major obstacles makes for a GREAT person. The movies that I enjoy the most are all based on this principle. Give me a movie about someone overcoming hardships to win something and I'll watch it over and over and over. Throw in a good name and I'll buy it too. "Iron Will", "Real Genius", and "Rocky" are all on my greatest movie list. There is one more piece to this though. Winning through adversity is not enough. It's winning honestly through adversity that matters to me. I'm the idealist who still believes that hard work both at work and at study can bring a person anything in life. There are no short-cuts and no get rich schemes that work. There is only good honest effort that will win. Enron and Adelphia would both be examples of times when people had to overcome adversity to win, but in both cases their integrity was lacking and they only "won" by cheating. Cheaters never win.

Do you have any special traits that you look for in your Great people?