What the ancient Greeks teach us about being awesome

Are you making the best use of every moment?

At the end of life, one thing remains: a eulogy. Everything we did is on the sheet. Lost forever is all the stuff we merely thought about, hoped for, wished for, or thought we should have done.

“A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, Nothing else.” –  Mahatma Gandhi

Are you making the best use of every moment?

Being average doesn’t cut it if you want to have impact. You won’t stand out until you excel. And as all of us can excel at something, why not hustle to reach awesome in a field until you are it and it is you? Get noticed and remembered.

Find your discus and practice throwing

Aspire to excellence; that’s how you become valuable to others and find freedom.

Everyone has something they can teach; we all have a skill or understanding wanted by others. To teach, you need only know the step beyond your pupil. So what can you teach? You could pick something you’ve never done before and teach it to yourself for practice.

What can you research and become a master in? Reading a few dozen books on any subject will leave you more knowledgeable (in that subject), than almost anyone. Pick a subject people are hungry for answers in.

Then, treat your subject as if it was discus throwing.

The discus is very difficult to master. It’s physically demanding. You have to love doing it, otherwise, you won’t practise enough to get the technical skill needed to do well.

However, by persisting, you’ll get stronger physically and mentally with every practice. Eventually, you’ll become an expert. An audience will drift in; some inspired to try your discipline themselves, while others are just reminded of the extent of human potential and motivated to achieve more in their own lives. Once you are an expert at something, it’s easy to inspire others.

Find your ‘discus’ – something you love that gives value to others when you do it well. Choose an activity you could do all the time, even for free, regardless of the conditions. And then ‘out yourself’ doing it. Go on Facebook, live.

Start teaching what you know.

If you can do this, you’ve unlocked a door to prosperity.

Every intentional step towards goals is valuable

There are always alternatives to any path you might choose, and distractions arise all the time. To stay on track, plan your day, make the plan realistic, and keep taking steps toward being awesome in your subject. And no need to reinvent a new process.

Instead of reinventing, follow a proven model. You’ll get faster results with less expense.

If you’re making your business online, find a mentor who’s doing this well, and follow them! Success stories abound. You don’t have to reinvent anything!

  1. Watch what your mentor does and copy. Pretend you’re young again and don’t know anything. The ‘pretending you’re young’ bit should be fun.
  2. Listen when they describe their mistakes and don’t repeat them. Saves you time.
  3. Take action that imitates the bits they tried which worked. This is like building a card castle with glue – you’ll get a great result and people will wonder what ‘magic’ you conjured up.

It’s a simple three step process. Find someone you respect for their deeds, and follow them.

You have an instant info service – use it!

Age overtakes us all. One day, someone will write your eulogy. Act now! In the internet era, researching almost everything is easier than it once was. You can dive deep anywhere, confirm facts, obtain images, and solve most problems.

Large nineteenth-century multi-story homes often had dumbwaiters. These were small elevators that brought food or other items to another floor.  The internet is the greatest dumbwaiter ever built. Anything and everything is delivered at a click. Even cars and house can be bought and sold this way.

It’s also true, as Johnny B says: “Everything is simple, but very little is easy.” But if you dare to dream, aim to inspire others, and excel at what you do, you can become an authority at whatever you choose.

Use the information which is freely available to build a presence that satisfies and sustains you. Others have done it, you can too.

Excel because it’s a fast way to stand out

There are good reasons to aim for excellence. The ancient Greeks had an even better word: areté.  Back then, areté meant the achievement of excellence in all areas of life – not just in one’s vocation.

It’s a worthwhile goal. Excellence isn’t just that impossible grade above A+ that only a few will ever achieve. Anyone can be excellent, as it’s much more about mindset than ability.

On the road to areté, you’ll see many different attitudes.

  1.  Reactive Followers chase last year’s hot trend, because their idol was successful at it. They do achieve some expertise and success, but then react to a new trend or hero and change course to follow that. Their business ideas last as long as their enthusiasm, which is brief. They ‘try things out’, but allow obstacles to block their progress – at which point another trend usually emerges.  Two common species of Reactive Follower are the Internet marketing wannabes who chase every shiny object that lands in their inbox at gold-rush speed, or MLM opportunists who join program after program hoping they’ll eventually ‘get in on the ground floor’.
  2.  Plateau Settlers persist long enough to reach a level of success, and then slacken off their efforts. The view from the plateau is better than before; it’s good enough until a crisis forces them to upskill again, or implement some improvements to regain market share from a new competitor. Plateau Settlers know they ‘should do more’, but usually talking about it eases their conscience sufficient unto the day.
  3.  Creative Masters view each plateau as a step to their ultimate end: areté. They use ‘push on, pause, repeat’ as part of mastering any skill or business, and are always looking for ways to create more value in the lives of others. They know the worth of intentional and continuous practice and persist in their endeavour until they achieve their goals.

I’ve inhabited each of those personas – reactively following blindly when I should have stopped to think, and plateau settling when I didn’t want to be seen as the ‘tall poppy’. Neither attitude served me. I spent years focused on the wrong things.

Today I’m cultivating the mindset of a creative master. You?

Grab life now

The time will pass anyway. Become one of The Evolving: one who pursues excellence like it’s rare and valuable. Because it is.