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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...



Everyone always told me "just be yourself." For some reason, I found it hard to do this. I recently realized that I did not know how to be myself, only because I wasn't sure of who I truly was just yet. Being in high school puts a lot of pressure on most of us, we always have to fit in with the cool kids and what not. Also being home with parents around I never found the chance to express myself truthfully. Not to mention all the silly high school rules about our appearance or the way we are supposed to act.

I have always lived in suburban areas where everyone wore the same thing and if you weren't then you couldn't be cool. As sad as it is, I think this is because people are scared in a way of those who are different. Since moving to Toronto, I have been able to explore the extremely multicultural aspect of the city, as well as the openness towards bizarre trends and types of people of the city. I also believe that going to University has allowed me to express myself better through my art and more flexibly with my personality and appearance.

At this point in my life, I am finally at peace with who I truly am. I wouldn't say that this was done over night. It definitely took me some time to adjust and understand that I do not have to be like everybody else and fit perfectly into the mould. This, I think, also applies to other issues in our society which I won't get into right now but might be addressed in a later post.

Back to my original thought; I did not accomplish this overnight. Meditation has definitely helped me in accomplishing these things. Also living in a more mindful way and seeing things from a different perspective, having my own opinions and ideas has enabled me to be more comfortable with who I am and want to be. But most importantly, I have given myself some time to just be on my own. I am much more confident and I am able to express myself through art more comfortably and meaningfully.

All of this to say, be yourself.

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