Friday, February 9, 2007

Greatness Achieved

I have been pondering an idea lately of something I call "ultimate expression." It is almost self-explanitory, but allow me to indulge a little. I read an article from Fortune Magazine titled, What It Takes To Be Great. The article spoke of people such as Tiger Woods and Warren Buffet, performing at the top of their game and at the top of the world because of something called deliberate practice . The stories thesis was: anyone can achieve a level of greatness with time and deliberate practice. The key is deliberate practice, also known as dedication/due dilligence/determination. This article may have prompted the idea of the ultimate expression.

There is something in life that everyone is passionate about. There is something inside that, when it comes out, makes you feel great. Some play an instrument, some sing, others play sports or teach. There are endless ways to express this passion. If you are fortunate enough, your work can fulfill this desire. But for most of us, our job is well, a job. We find other ways to make us feel whole.

This expression is the soul escaping into the external world. It is the reflection of what is in you, casting its presence into the material world. For Picasso, it was through his vision and by extension, his hand and the canvass. For Pavarotti, it is thorough his sonorous voice. For Ali, it was with his graceful movement and handspeed in the ring, and to some extent his ability to manipulate his opponents' mind. For those of us watching, they make it look like childplay, like it's the easiest thing they've ever done. It is amazing when we get to see someone's soul on display. We are left in awe in the presence of a great soul at its zenith.

But we know that it isn't easy. It takes years of dedication to reach these levels. Take Ali for example. Do you think he spent all his time praying to Allah to help him win fights? Of course not. He spent hours circling and pounding a bag, hours dancing in a ring, countless hours perfecting his footwork and technique and always pushing and improving himself. It does take this much to be "The Greatest."

Although some of us are lucky enough to find our ultimate expression, others spend their entire lives searching for something that fulfills this desire. You need not become (and likely will not become) as famous as Tiger Woods or Muhammad Ali, but the feelings can be the same. For those of you who have found it, then, it is your duty to make use of it, to nurture and let blossom this inherent beauty. For the rest of us, I pose these questions:

What is your ultimate expression? How does your soul speak to others, or to yourself, for that matter?

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