Alta Backcountry

Greatness

I went on a walk today around Mud Lake. So I was thinking about greatness. Meaning true greatness, not just success or keeping up with the Jones' and so forth.

True greatness requires a few elements to make it happen:

1. Passion: You will not be great at anything without it. You have to believe that what you are trying to do is the most important thing out there, or if not the actual thing, there at least has to be some raging fire inside you that is inspiring you to do your thing. Love is always a good – it fueled William Wallace, Ghengis Khan and countless other inspirational souls. So to start, you need the fire.

2. Madness in vision: Crazyness is all relative, and one could argue that going to the same 9-5 job everyday and not extending the self is crazier than crazy.  But I think really, to be great, you have to be a little bit out there. You have to basically believe things can happen that the average person might not. Take Reinhold Messner for example. An attempt up Everest's north face is indeed chutzpah. Yet to do it up the couloir, alone, in a minimalist style, is something else. On the surface, it's pure madness. Yet it's also brilliant, and it's why he is considered the greatest climber who has ever lived. Perhaps it's not madness. Perhaps it's creativity to the umpteenth degree.

3. A certain arrogance: In the attempting of something great, you are bound to be criticized. Your are pushing the standards of society, of expectations, and as such, you will find opposition from the huddled masses who live in fear. They will say – that's impossible, be practical or even call it flat out wrong. This is to be expected. The key is to ignore the riff-raff, pay it no heed, and plug on. Attempting to placate the noise is a distraction from greatness.

4. Good karma/luck: To dive into something that is "impossible" or "not practical" requires a high level of drive and passion. Yet oddly enough, it also requires a certain letting go. I think it requires a spirituality, and I'm probably not talking about your standard church religion, although if that floats your boat, so be it. Many have been fueled by this – who am I to judge? Still, I think, if you are attempting something bold and risky, you need to have good old karma and luck on your side. Say your prayers, but more importantly, live with integrity. Help others, help the planet. Wear the good luck charms, do whatever you need to do. But do it with the knowledge that there are bigger forces out there, and you want to go forth with cockiness, yet humility.

Maybe that's the key. Be confident or even cocky to the human naysayers. They matter little. But to the goal or the object at hand…be confident, yet also hold onto the good luck charm. 

I would say planning, and intelligence, and strength and resources are also useful in becoming great. And I've probably missed a few things too. But those are secondary – the most important things are the ones I listed above.

My mind is spinning with the possibility of a great project in the mountains. An attempt of something big. Something that I think would define me. For too long I've been waiting to define myself. The time, right now, is almost perfect. I'm not cocky enough to state it, because there are some preparations that need to be made. But I think…this might be the thing to do.

Be great in all things. In your pursuit of happiness, in your pursuit of fulfillment, in your pursuit of love. Nothing is impossible.

The heart on fire is the greatest weapon known to mankind.

2 Replies to “Greatness”

  1. this is awesome, dan. I just moved to a foreign country.. I’m scared as hell, and this made everything better for a while. it all makes sense..

    Like

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