What is it that separates the highly successful from the rest of the population.  In a word it is "greatness".  While it is something that is difficult to categorize, people know greatness when they see it.  And those who attain this level, set out to create it in their lives.  Compare this with the approach that most people take which is merely to survive.

A Conscious Decision

To be great, one must consciously decide to be that way.  It is something that cannot be achieved unless one sets it out as a goal.  Yet few are willing to make this commitment.  Instead, they hedge what they want in an effort to avoid failure.  Greatness sets the bar extremely high.  Most of the population cannot handle the idea of putting so much pressure upon themselves.  Instead, they leave themselves "an out".  Failure becomes acceptable.

One thing that is common to hear is "I need to lose some weight" or "I need to get into shape".  Notice the hedge that is already in place.  Did the individual making these proclamations establish a high bar?  The answer is no.  Nowhere in the person's mind is the idea of having a great body.  The reason for this is the level of commitment to achieve this is much greater than simply making some progress.  The truth is that this person most likely will do nothing.

Finances are the exact same way.  People too often approach investing, as an example, with the mindset of not losing.  They do not set out to achieve big fortunes.  Fear is running the show and simply progressing is acceptable.  Certainly one wants his or her investment accounts to grow.  However, accepting a measly return because one is unwilling to commit to something greater is absurd.

It is crucial that you make the conscious choice to build fantastic wealth.  This is at the core of our existence in this society.  Obviously, I am not advocating you take the gambler mentality to the market because that is not a winning proposition either.  My point is that you must be willing to do your homework and hone your skills in the area of finance/investing.  You are looking to achieve greatness.  Maintain some humility because, if you do not, the markets have a way of humbling you.  And this gets to be an expensive approach.  Make this decision and follow up with actions that mirror it.

A Higher Level

Whenever a person implements the idea of greatness into his or her life, suddenly this person is operating at a higher level then everyone else.  As I stated earlier, most simply seek to survive.  Nowhere in there being is the idea of strive for more.  Sure, they mentally state they would like something different yet few actually make the commitment to move towards that end.  It is much easier to make things a wish, hope, or dream.

Does this mean you will achieve greatness in all you do?  Of course not.  Failure is a part of life.  There are things we attempt that do not work out.  Naturally, the ultimate failure is to give up.  Oftentimes, a misstep is not failure as much as a signal to do things differently.  This is one of life's ways of teaching us valuable lessons.  Experience is a terrific teacher if we will pay attention.

When deciding to focus upon greatness in any area, we cease to accept substandard results.  People often complain about having little motivation when if greatness was the ultimate end, motivation would be present.  It is easy to see the path when one sets a high outcome.  Work is required and lots of it.  However, as one advances up the scale, the rewards get greater.

We see this when one sets out to eliminate debt from his or her life.  At first, it is overwhelming when one looks at all the balances.  Yet, over time, as more payments are submitted, balances dwindle.  At the same time, the interest accrued starts decreasing in proportion.  Hence, more of each payment, if constant, is going towards principle, accelerating the elimination process.  Paying off one debt is a breakthrough for many people and the time where they realize progress is being made.  Nobody can have a great financial life with excessive amounts of personal unsecured debt.

Each of us has a standard of conduct that is acceptable.  If one is only striving for mediocre, obviously the level of conduct is low.  This is a person who will only do enough to get by.  A higher aspiration is not in the cards.  However, once this person adopts the idea of being great in any area, instantly the behaviors which were present before are no longer acceptable.  Instead of watching television, perhaps the person starts to read financial books.  Time is utilized in a different way in an effort to attain a greater end.  Mild attempts are unsatisfactory. 

Sports provides a terrific analogy.  Take someone like Michael Jordan who was the best basketball player of his time.  He operated at a level higher than even the other professional players around him.  Did he have a natural talent?  Certainly.  However, he also worked extremely hard at his craft always desiring to get better.  He also matched it up with the inner strength to take the pressure shots which many would shy away from.  His mental skills were as strong as his physical.  This is what separated him from the other players, many of whom were the best in the world.  He sought greatness where others were content to just give their best. 

I want you to implement greatness in all you do.  Take one area of your life and decide to make it great.  Do not settle for substandard results anymore.  Commit to being the best at whatever the endeavor is.  And then be willing to take whatever action is necessary to achieve that end.
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