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Guest Post: Greatness and Humility

A few days ago, I wrote an open letter to a good friend of mine - "I Think Greatness is Something You Are, Not Something You Do" - I said to him, I'm not a great man, just a normal man working on great things. Greatness is something you do, not something you are.

To give you some background, my friend Brendon is just one of the most amazingly good people in the world. He takes care of everyone around him, his mind, body, and spirit are sharp. He's a black belt, an excellent programmer, a philosopher, a Shodan in Go (actually, even stronger than that - he's a Shodan under the Asian rankings, so probably even higher in America), a hard worker, extremely loyal, a clear and free thinker, widely read and knowledgeable, and again - an amazingly good guy. I've learned a lot from him (notably, he taught me how to play Go, sysadmin Linux, understand basketball at a very high level, improve at martial arts, improve my fitness, and other good stuff - we'd usually go drink green tea and play Go at Samurai Restaurant in Boston, go fight in the park, talk philosophy out at nightclubs, do stuff like that).

He wrote back to me about greatness and humility. I think this is a really beautiful piece, so I asked him if I could gently edit it and put it up. He graciously agreed. It's long, but go ahead and just start it and give it whatever time you have - there's a lot of amazing insight in here.

A Quick Favor Request - if you learn from this or it helps you, please send Brendon a quick email to mail@bobz.in - he was actually a little gun-shy about having such a personal piece put up with such raw power in it. He only agreed when I told him how many people it could help - so please, drop him a short line to say thanks if this teaches you as much as it did me.

Without further ado...


On Chaotically Ordering

Priorities are an interesting thing to me. On the one hand, everyone has them. We all have things that at any point we'd rather be doing, or we hold above other things in life. On the other hand, those of us who actually prioritise these things are few and far between.

I have many priorities. Learning a new language (currently French), learning Guitar, working out, etc; I count all these things among my priorities. Contrary to this, I often put them off. My friends are going out for a meal or a drink, and I think "just this once wont hurt" and put these activities off.

It does, however, hurt.

For something to be an actual priority, it must take precedence. The time which we had put aside to perform this activity shouldn't be a mutable thing. It is our priority, and we carved out a time; there should be no excuse for changing that.

Even carving out a time for our priorities is something that often falls by the wayside. We think that because these things are ostensibly more important to us, we will just do them. We will find the energy, willpower, or inspiration, and just get on with it. This is far from the truth, especially if the task could be considered arduous, or require a large amount of commitment.

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