William Shakespeare was undoubtedly one of the greatest minds of his time. In his writings, life and accomplishments, he towered above his contemporaries and can be adjudged without hesitation as a great man. You do not have to be a Shakespeare to be great. There are many Nigerians of great minds, if you will aspire to be one of them in any area of life endeavour. Shakespeare said “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”Should you aspire to be great? Then you need the recipe to greatness which by the successes and failures of men, has become established for those who want a share of the future as succinctly put by Eleanor Roosevelt that “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. To have a share of the future, you must be able to see into it and the binocular to see the future is the mind. The greater a mind is, the farther it can see into the future with a bigger aspiration to possess it.To my 2018 graduating set of Chrisland High School, VGC; and their juniors in the lower classes, I challenge you with the following recipe as you journey uphill on the path of greatness.
- Be a Dreamer: Since the ordinary eyes cannot see into the future except the eyes of the mind, open your mind to dreaming. Have a vision of how great you want to be. “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dream” (Oprah Winfrey). Be ready to work hard to achieve your dream and let nothing stop you in your quest for success. Dare to dream because “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.” (Thomas Edison). Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. “There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure”. (Paulo Coelho)
- Have a Positive Attitude: A great mind is not threatened by anything or anybody. Negativities are a distraction to the pursuit of life goals. To avoid distraction and to help you focus on your goals, you must develop a positive attitude to everything in life. Great minds are more concerned about ideas, not events or people. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”. (Eleanor Roosevelt).
A positive attitude can make a dream come true but a negative attitude is the greatest killer of dreams because it opens the door for the cankerworms like doubt, bitterness and indolence that invades and plunders your dreams. Do not be afraid of discouragements because “discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success” (Dale Carnegie).
- Be Independent: A great mind is very independent and is not in a race with anyone but his destiny. Usually, people of great mind have a strong sense of independence. They enjoy being alone with their ideas and making art out of their thoughts. They are comfortable with being on their own when exploring new cities or even eating at a restaurant by themselves. In a way, they would prefer not to work on projects with other people since it is easier for them to dive in and take charge all by themselves. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined”. (Henry David Thoreau)
- Be Curious: People of great mind are always curious about how certain things work and what makes people tick. They are the people who constantly ask questions and want to become knowledgeable about random things. Their curiosity comes across in their work and art since they are brave enough to question and then answer things others will not.
- Be a Deep Thinkers: It should come as no surprise that people of great mind are deep thinkers. They dive deep into philosophical questions and want to get to the root of everything. They internalize their thoughts and their mind is always running. They are intelligent and become knowledgeable about religion, politics and other subjects, and the meaning of life in general. They tend to use their deep thoughts and the inner-most workings of their mind for inspiration for their work. They follow their dreams in their heart, they are energised, inspired, and motivated. People of great minds think before they talk and hardly regrets anything they say.
- Be Open-minded: People of great mind tend to be very open to new ideas and new ways of thinking since they are constantly thinking about life and things from different perspectives. For example, if they write, they are putting themselves in each of their characters and their mindsets when drafting their novel. So when they are living their life, putting themselves in other people’s shoes and thinking in a different mindset comes easily to them.
- Be Interesting: People of great mind are truly interesting individuals. They have such a vibrant personality that can entertain and keep you occupied for hours. They have a wide range of interests which makes talking to them about nearly anything always a fun time. They know how to converse with a diverse group of people and always have something interesting to say.
They are fun to be around since they have such a thirst for life. They are usually excited about new people, places, and things. They want to soak in everything that life has to offer and then put their experiences into their work.
- Be Ambitious: People of great mind understand that no task is too small for them to tackle. They are ready to take on a lot of work all at once and they know they can produce awesome results. Most of the time, they do so under an intense deadline and plenty of stress. Whether it is a first draft of a novel due within a month or a collection of sculptures they have to create for an art show quickly approaching, they know they can do it. People of great mind are not easily discouraged, they believe in themselves even when no one else does. Washington Irving said “little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them”. They do not necessarily go where the path may lead; they go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
- Be Sensitive and Active: People of great mind are sensitive since they are always in-tune with their emotions and feelings. They capture this sensitivity and use it as inspiration for their work. They have a certain sensitivity for people, feedback, beauty, and other aspects of life. They have a heightened sense of sensitivity at all times.
On the other hand, they have no tolerance for boredom since they always want to be creating and improving their craft. They are down for anything that comes their way and are ready for adventure at a moment’s notice. They thrive on new and exciting experiences since it provides inspiration for their novel, poetry, music, dance, or artwork.
- Spread Happiness: People of great mind share their gift and passion with the world and this, in turn, spreads happiness. They share their work with others. Their works evokes certain emotions and responses from people, it also may inspire other people to become creative themselves and aspire to become great. Creative people may enjoy sharing their work with others because it also makes them happy to receive great reviews of their work or see the expressions others have when they view their masterpieces. They try not to become a person of success only, but rather try to become a person of value.
Finally, we have given you a passport to the future. Keep it well and keep it safe because “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” (Malcolm X)
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