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What contributes to lasting renown?

In response to yesterday's "Tokugawa’s Generals, and Being a Great Follower," I wrote that greatness is something you define for yourself. I asked, what's your definition of greatness, then? We can think about it. The reader clarified -

I wrote down a list of great men and realized what I meant by greatness. Glory, recognition by other human beings. From conquerors, to musical virtuosos, the great men are those that are supported by the wave of existing people. Great men are those who did something that is today recognized as valuable. Great men are those that are known by "everyone". That is how I think fame should be seen. That is how I am seeing it as of now.

Something that jumps to the eyes is that it requires other people. If you are great then at least someone must be not great. I guess being successful in life is different from being great. If living a successful life is minimally having 2 kids with more opportunities than you had and a strong family then once achieved, your are successful. Greatness I think could be seen as recognized success. Perhaps self-recognized success can make you see yourself as great...

If everyone is successful and recognize that their success and others are great, then everyone is great, hence no one is great. (or otherwise said, to my belief, the word "great" loses value as "awe-some" did) Well that is how I see it. Everyone is successful in something, not all are The Great. Where were the risk-taking warriors? As I now understand, they were fearful. Then again I suppose they had to stop someday throne or no throne. Having acquired the belief that to rebel is a bad ROI.

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On Runner's Ravings

I wasn’t the brightest student growing up. In the fourth grade, I was reading at a second grade level, and my writing was even worse. There were concerns that I would never catch up, and I would be destined to remain in special-help classes and never truly excel academically.

I got lucky. My parents compelled me to work harder, and my teachers were invaluable to my efforts as they worked with me to improve my skills. Thanks to them, I went from being a poor to an average student. For me, for everyone who had seen me grow up, this would do.

But then something else happened. Something my parents, my teachers, and certainly I never expected. I started to excel. My reading levels began to rise above the averages, and I began enrolling in what my junior high school referred to as “challenge” courses. My English teachers became impressed by my writing skills, and it was during this time that writing became a part of who I am.

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