Scott’s Thoughts: Gradual Greatness

“True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.”

St. Francis of Assisi, (b.1181/1182 – October 3, 1226), Italian Catholic friar and preacher.

Inches on a ruler.


True greatness is not the result of a single, monumental act. It is earned through continuously applied effort over time. This is a good news/bad news situation, depending on your perspective.

The Bad News: If you’ve been taking refuge in the fantasy of “one day” or “starting tomorrow,” you have nowhere to hide. No single deal, no one act will make you. You cannot plan one day to be great. You must start right here, right now, with the tools at hand and the skills you have available. If you are to be remarkable, you must do things which cause people to remark on your gifts– whether it’s your ingenuity, creativity, even-headedness, or generosity. It also means you must ask yourself with every action you take: Does this live up to my standard for greatness? Am I pursuing the best version of myself I know how to be?

The Good News: Greatness over time makes greatness more achievable. If, in everything you do, you merely ask the question, “How could I do this a bit better?” you’ll find that improving your life and the lives of others is no longer a daunting task. Even a 1% improvement over time will result in tangible, substantial gains. If you’re able to win by inches, it’s remarkable how the miles add up.

So what will your next inch towards greatness be? Is there someone you can call and thank? Is there something you’ve always wanted to fix in your listing presentation? Is there a quick, helpful email message you can write? Would today be a good day to take someone to lunch?

Look for the slight edge in each activity, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to greatness.

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