The title of this post is “stolen” from an interview of Joe Rogan with Jon Jones (an American mixed martial artist). As Joe had it, the responsibility of greatness comes with potential. It’s not about what you’ve done, but what you could have done. It is about your potential, about what’s in you.
What immediately comes to my mind is also a phrase on which a famous life coach Marie Forleo always ends her show episodes: “Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams, because the world needs that special gift that only YOU have”.
So let’s briefly discuss this: the gifts or talents and the responsibility to deploy them.
It is of course “tempting” to say that it’s not about you, that you don’t really have any spectacular talents, but…
Could it be that you just haven’t discovered them yet? Or maybe your definition of a talent or expectations for contribution are sky-high. Talents shouldn’t be spectacular to be worthy.
I’ve been there myself. A while ago I felt like… let’s call it — average. Nasty feeling. Yes, I am good at certain things, but so are hundreds (if not thousands) of people around me.
Of course, it is about the specific combination of those talents.
Of course, it is about a special perspective. But still…
Then one day I went to have lunch at an Italian restaurant. And then it dawned on me.
How many Italian restaurants around the world are there?!
Got the point? It is less about being unique in what you might be good at, it is about putting to work what you are good at. It is about doing what YOU possibly can. About just doing (for crying out loud!).
Now, the responsibility issue.
On one hand, it is your life and you are the only one who determines the scope and limits of what you are going to do with it. It is about your choices and your decisions.
On the other hand, let’s talk about someone like Einstein for a moment. If he hadn’t persisted in realizing his potential, if he was just satisfied with remaining a clerk in the Patent Office, the world would be deprived of a genius… Yes, it is Einstein, you might say. Yet he became Einstein we know him because he didn’t settle for less than realizing ALL his potential.
What I found for myself is that the notion of responsibility can be an important driving factor or a motivational push, if you will. Nowadays if I feel down or worthless, I repeat the mantra:
“I might not be perfect, but I will do everything I can with what I have”
(which is what responsibility of greatness is in a nutshell) and then I just make the tiny first step. And another. And another… One day I will get everywhere I set my mind on. Convinced.
I know all this sounds like cheesy motivational stuff you’ve read hundreds of times. In a way it is. However, whether you like it or not, you do form your reality. If you do something in the next 365 days or you don’t, those days will pass by anyway. And — hey! — “the world needs that special gift that only YOU have“.