#greatness #self-confidence #doingrightbyothers
There’s a difference between self-confidence and greatness.
Great people never proclaim their greatness. But others may. Self-confident people express confidence to themselves, and just show it to others.
Don Yaeger, a former associate editor for Sports Illustrated magazine, has interviewed thousands of great people in his career. In his book, “What Makes the Great Ones Great,” he lists 16 characteristics of greatness. They are: hating to lose more than wanting to win, appreciating the values of association, placing faith in a higher power, having contagious enthusiasm, preparing for all possibilities, having no off-season, visualizing victory, using adversity as fuel, being a responsible risk-taker, knowing how and when to make adjustments, becoming the ultimate teammate, being motivated by more than money, doing right by others, living with integrity, being a role model and creating a well-rounded legacy.
We won’t focus specifically on all 16 here, but we will draw out what a great person, defined as a person capable of doing something great as determined by others, based on Yaeger’s characteristics.
This person has drive. He or she is capable of motivating others by allowing others to observe how he or she acts.
The person gives and does for others enthusiastically, without expecting anything in return. He or she goes home each night knowing he or she has done the best possible.
He or she knows the goal and knows the drill. He or she doesn’t say to others, “Try again. I’ll know what I’m looking for when I see it.” If what’s produced is not up to standard, he or she says exactly what needs to be done to make it so.
This person won’t criticize you. He or she will care about you for who you are. He or she will do all possible to make YOU the best YOU can be. Very likely, personal reward will come his or her way, though that’s not the goal.
This person knows bad things will happen. But his or her strength comes from turning bad to good, using whatever it takes and staying with what works. He or she will look to others to find the how, but will have a firm grasp on why.
He or she doesn’t have to be well educated on paper, but will read a lot of the right things and learn a lot from others. He or she is not content to be content. He or she not only wants what he or she wants, but also wants it for others.
Not only does this person completely understand right from wrong, he or she does the right thing, even without thinking about it, and when no one is looking.
He or she is the same person among family, friends or strangers. He or she doesn’t ask anyone to follow him or her, the way, say, a dictator might. People follow him or her BECAUSE of who they are. No duress, no distress, just success for all.
We all have potential for greatness. We all have potential to achieve all that we want. We all can find the best role models to emulate. Yet, not all of us do what we are capable of. If you want more than contentment and are searching for a vehicle to give it to you, visit You’ll see people enthusiastically doing what they need to do, to get what they want.
Don’t let others, or circumstances, stop you. Achieve greatness. Get the help you need and follow what the best are doing. Do right by others. Bring others with you as you achieve. Know why you are doing it, and let reward come to you.


Golfer Jack Nicklaus beat polio as a boy to become a champion.
Today, though he holds the record for the number of major tournaments won, he remains humble.
Bob Greene, a commentator for CNN and author of the book “Late Edition: A Love Story,” discussed the Nicklaus way of golf – and life – in an April 4, 2014, column in The Wall Street Journal.
Greene says Nicklaus’ theory for golf and life is to do your best, and everything else will take care of itself. He points out that Nicklaus played in the era of Muhammed Ali and Joe Namath, two athletes known for declaring their own greatness and predicting unpredictable victories.
Nicklaus, though, preferred to let other people declare his greatness, Greene says.
Humility is a scarce character trait in people today. Many who rise to power often tell us of their greatness, even before it is achieved. We need more people who don’t just act before they speak, but prefer not to speak at all. Their actions say all that needs to be said.
They may, or may not, object to having others verbalize their greatness. But they see themselves as a person just doing what he loves, or doing what he believes he was created to do – quietly.
It’s been said that one should put his money where his mouth is. Or, one should walk the walk if he talks the talk. Namath and Ali did that, but Nicklaus did it as he remained quiet.
Humble people don’t talk the talk. They just walk the walk. They put their money where it belongs, not near their mouths.
They give and get, and never take. They do their thing without expectation, though they expect much from themselves quietly.
Have you ever had a bombastic boss? How did he treat you, his employee? Did he take a lot from you, while giving you little? Did he make you feel as if he were doing you a favor by employing you? Did you feel that he was more comfortable being served, than serving?
We all have the ability to gain wealth and/or power. How we get it says as much, or more, about a person as the achievement itself.
Humble people accomplish things quietly, yet openly. They accomplish things honestly and give generously. They favor the accomplishment itself, and what it can do for others, rather than what it can do for them. They don’t talk of greatness. They Just Do It, to quote the Nike slogan – and do for others.
Do you consider yourself humble? Do you have goals that you don’t talk about with others, but hold deep inside? Are you genuinely kind to others, and eager to do for others, even when no one is watching?
If so, and are looking for a way to put that genuine goodness to use, visit You may find the best thing you can do to help others, and perhaps achieve what you’d like for yourself.
Successful people do more and talk less. Like Nicklaus, they take life one shot at a time. Then, go to the next shot. They do their best each time, all the time. They always give credit to others. As Greene put it, Nicklaus believed his major tournament record would have been broken by now. But, at age 74, he still leads in the clubhouse.


“You didn’t build that.”
That quote, by U.S. President Barack Obama in the summer of 2012, implied that entrepreneurs had plenty of help building their businesses. It was taken wildly out of context.
Related to that, New York Times columnist David Brooks, in August 2012, fielded this question from Confused in Columbus: “How much of my success is me, and how much of my success comes from forces outside of me?” In other words, “who built me?”
Brooks answers by saying: “As you go through life, you should pass through different phases in thinking about how much credit you deserve.”
He basically says that younger folks have full control to build their lives as they see fit. Some call that sowing wild oats. But it’s more than having a good time, and doing things you might regret later. It’s a sense of starting fresh to build “you.”
As you reach middle age, Brooks says, you are more governed by circumstances. Your part in your life may be more navigational through those circumstances, than creative. As you hit your 50s and 60s, says Brooks, you start to see relationships as more important than individuals. Who influenced you through your life? Who helped you? Steve Jobs’ greatest accomplishment was building a company, not a product, Brooks says.
In your elder years, you are struck by how you got there. You are struck by the astonishing importance of luck – whom you met, where you worked, Brooks says.
Brooks concludes that you should start life in complete control of what you do, and will be, and you should finish life recognizing that you probably got better than you deserved.
The latter statement probably refers to humility, not that you “didn’t deserve” to be where you are.
We all deserve greatness, but it must be achieved, not just received. Some obstacles will befall us on the road to greatness. Those who go around, climb over or go through — take your pick – those obstacles will eventually see greatness. Hopefully, you will go through those obstacles without hurting others – in fact, you will help others. The process of becoming great is as important as the greatness itself.
Also, greatness comes in many forms. As you progress through life, you will find not only the type of greatness you wish to achieve, but also how you wish to achieve it.
You will learn that you cannot do it alone. Help others as others have helped you. Parents, teachers, mentors, spouses and others who become part of your life will play a large part in building you. Be grateful to them, long before your elder years.
You play a big part in building you. Other people and things help along the way. Sometimes we have control of those people and things. Sometimes we don’t. We come to realize that people, working alone, can only do so much. We realize that this is not meant to discourage us, it’s meant to motivate us, and instill gratitude within us.
Don’t let circumstances discourage you. Let them show you what you need to do to achieve greatness. Have faith that you can achieve what you want to achieve, but will need and want help along the way.
In fact, you deserve to see potentially a great life for you. Visit
You may start as the architect to build you, but will use many subcontractors as you mature. The entrepreneur in you knows he can’t do everything alone. You can HELP build you, but you need the proper context for the complete you to emerge.