Formulas Don’t Produce Greatness

Every path to greatness includes at least one completely illogical choice.

The above statement is why I believe that most—if not all—of the formula-for-success books currently raking in boatloads of money for their authors mostly miss the point of greatness. They write about formulas that were likely in place when greatness occurred, but those processes were never the cause of that greatness. Yet, to hear that a reproducible formula equates to reproducible greatness is just so logical that it sounds like it should be true, and we desperately want it to be. The only other choice is to admit that it’s all on us and whatever charisma we can muster. If we’re not sure we have any of that, this is not such an attractive option.

Let’s set all that aside and make greatness the goal this time.

There’s a great come-on line in the field of business success books that goes something like this: “if you want to be successful, find someone who has done what you want to do, and let them teach you how they did it.” That sounds like the poster child for logic, doesn’t it? Problem is, it doesn’t work. At least, it doesn’t work in any realm that involves leadership or dynamic interaction. It does work if you want to build a house, or change the brake pads on your car, but in any matter that involves dynamic human interaction, there simply is no formula.

To the task of inspiring and enrolling other humans, the only tool you have is a pattern of thinking that you learned at a very early age. If that isn’t working, there’s a flaw operating somewhere in the recesses of your mind that even you are probably not aware of, let alone some person that has never met you. No matter how successful they’ve been at being themselves, their formula is not going to address the fundamental obstacle to your success: a shift in who you are being.

Among the more successful people I’ve spoken with in all fields, the honest ones (read: no book to sell) will readily admit that they don’t know how their success actually happened. The only real common thread I have spotted in their various stories is that, on their way to greatness, they never, ever, stopped having fun. That’s right, the majority of the credit for their success is that they valued that part of themselves that just wanted to have fun.

I’m not sure that whimsy is something that can be taught; especially in a book. People don’t like that. I’m not sure how many would buy a book recommending that you throw out formulas in favor of just being whimsical. I’d like to find out.

So, most of us continue down a path of completely logical steps and choices and formulas, which always and only leads to mediocrity, all the while thinking that we’re on the way to greatness.

Lesson: logic is the killer of greatness.

Stop making logical choices; at least occasionally. Just so you know you still can. You know, like you used to when you were young and having fun.

Stop striving for normal, and make the illogical choice of becoming exceptional. It always is an illogical choice.

Live a life with no regrets.

The only mistake you can ever make with your life is in failing to trust that completely illogical part of yourself: your heart. Your heart knows nothing of logic.

Your heart will always lead you to adventure. Adventure is never what you would choose in the moment that it is happening, but it always results in the most satisfying experiences of your life: ones that you never regret. So then, you job is to fill your life with as many adventures as possible.

Adventure begins with an illogical choice. Illogical choices can only come from your heart.

A healthy heart invites adventure. A healthy body makes you available for it.


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