What about Greatness? Yeah, what about it?
What has been roaming the chambers of my mind more intensively than before in these days is the idea of “greatness”.
I’ve been one step ahead or behind the fine line of mediocrity and average since I know myself. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, don’t get me wrong. How-EVERR, I don’t want to be average, to be “ok”, to be “good”. I remembered a part from the One Tree Hill series, when Peyton is too afraid to show her drawings to an agency, and Lucas tries to encourage her, but then she says something that got stuck with me …
“-Your stuff is good.
-Not good enough.
-I want to draw something that means something to someone. You know, I want to draw blind faith or a fading summer or just a moment of clarity. It’s like when you go and you see a really great band live for the first time, you know, and nobody’s saying it but everybody’s thinking it: “We have something to believe in again.” I want to draw that feeling. But I can’t. And if I can’t be great at it then I don’t want to ruin it. It’s too important to me.”
I can replace this with writing, but I know just trying and failing at it fabulously will be worth it at some point. I hope. Exposing myself through my writing has definitely not been easy. :) Yes, I do want to write something that is important to someone else too, to a whole bunch of someone else’s, if you ask. So that when they read it, they’ll have the feeling of “I’ve been looking for this for so long.” And perhaps make a difference somehow.
Do you ever feel the same about your work as well?
Whenever I think of greatness, I can’t not to acknowledge that the shoulders of the giants we’re standing on are so giant. Does anyone ever think words and language are finite? It’s a simple mathematical calculation, the whole combination of letters and finite possibilities of arrangements of it. The same in music, and probably others. When I look at what other people previously did and wrote, I feel stupid and insignificant, and even though at some point I explored similar ideas or alike, they don’t matter now. And I also believe it’s very hard to find someone great these days, someone who is less of a copy of a copy of a copy … because …all those bestsellers? Yeah, their stories follow a pattern, they’re reproducing something, they bring back another thing. So for me there’s this pressure I put on myself that I don’t want to be just another copy. I don’t want to be good. I want to be great.
Sometimes I’m wondering if I’m afraid to write things that should be written, if I just write in a “politically correct manner” — not that what I don’t write is genuine, because it is, can’t be other than who I am. But do I fear writing about certain things? That’s a question. Should great seem like fearless? Perhaps. Here’s another question. What if I write for 10 years and it will still not mean anything to anybody? I might keep on writing, because as I said somewhere else, it’s like breathing, but what will that say about the quality of my writing?
Coach Durham said, in the same episode of One Tree Hill,
“When you put a face on it, you can beat it. Or better yet, you can use it.”
There’s a constant battle between exposing too much or too less, and for what purpose? At some point, there’ll be nothing left to expose, and I also don’t want that. But it will also mean that I need to go through a lot of diverse experiences, get out of my comfort zone, so that the “exposable quantity” remains balanced. Heck, though, Harper Lee wrote a single book in her life and that was one of the greatest books ever written 50 years ago and even nowadays. That didn’t take a lot of exposure. Do I make any sense here …
In the same episode, (damn, One Tree Hill), Lucas Scott quotes Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged:
““Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”
I believe I have some sort of talent, I do, and not everything I write is crap (some might be, hands down, I agree). So I aspire to greatness not for fame or money, but for validation, there you have it. Knowing that what I think and write is appreciated by the many, because I believe in myself. It’s challenging, nevertheless, to believe in oneself when the world doesn’t know you or doesn’t believe in you like you do.
A conclusion I discovered while writing this is:
Through constantly questioning the road, my road becomes clearer.
And there’s one other thing I need to do as well. Push myself out of the cliff. (not in the literal sense… obviously)
Remember the movie “Whiplash” — it’s about being great, if you haven’t seen it yet. Excellent movie delivering the message. Terence Fletcher was a music professor who conducted a band, and he was very tough, he put pressure on his students, he wanted only the best. At some point, he says:
“ I was there to push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that’s an absolute necessity.”
Thinking about this, I know I haven’t pushed myself beyond what’s expected of me. I don’t have someone to push me, but I’ll try to do it myself. I just need to put a face on it, define it, and then use it — otherwise it will be just another thing said that the wind will carry away in the tombs of the internet.
Same character from Whiplash also says:
There are no two words in the English language more harmful than “good job”.
Good job can, maybe, represent a start for greatness, but it’s not enough. Good job doesn’t make a difference, doesn’t create an impact or leave a mark. Of course, it’s radical to think everyone on this planet should be destined for greatness and we’ll all change the world. Without the average, great wouldn’t even be anything. But everyone HAS the potential for greatness.