The ability to “make others greater than yourself” starts with a deep, unwavering belief that human beings are fundamentally bonded together–that all men and women are brothers and sisters, to paraphrase the old saying. It requires the understanding that personal efficacy and fulfillment is not a zero-sum game like wrestling or a presidential election. In other words, while certain situations do require a winner/loser balance sheet, the overall human experience does not.
There is no law of physics, no universal rule–that I know of, anyway–that says your succeeding requires my failing, your fulfillment requires my emptiness, your happiness, my grief. The human experience leaves room for everyone–literally everyone–to be fulfilled, enriched, enlightened, self-actualized–whatever you care to call it–in his or her own unique way.
I’m not naive, and I’m certainly not a wide-eyed Pollyanna-man. I don’t expect that it ever will happen for everyone; yet, again, there is no law–physical or otherwise–that says it can’t. So we have nothing to lose by devoting ourselves to this ultimate leadership act: helping to cultivate and develop the masters who, in turn, will go on to achieve things greater than we have.
“Making others greater than yourself” is, however, a misnomer (just like “Extreme Leadership” is a redundant term), because once you develop the ability to create masters, you earn membership in a rare and elite league of people who give immeasurable value to the rest of the humanity.
This, then, is the Greatness Paradox: by making others greater than yourself, you become one of the greatest of all.
If this makes any sense to you at all, if you’ve had any experience with this from either side of the “make others > yourself” equation, please help me clarify and refine this message and illustrate it with as many examples as possible. These experiences will be hard to find, I know, because they’re rare.
And that’s why I’m asking for your help.
Email me your story or stories. Tell me what you did for another–and/or what another did for you–that resulted in an achievement, accomplishment, or capability greater than the help-giver’s. Give me as much detail as you can; tell me what you learned. I’ll post some of the highlights on this blog.
And as my thanks for your help, if you send me an appropriate personal story of at least 300 words (that’s how I’ll be sure to get details from you), I’ll send you a signed, personalized-to-you copy of one of my books (your choice).
And please spread the word by sending this post to a friend. I promise I won’t run out of books.