True Greatness

Mastering the Inner Game of Business Success

 True Greatness

Authors: Kevin Elko, Bill Beausay
Pub Date: June 2009
Print Edition: $16.95
Print ISBN: 9780814433386
Page Count: 240
Format: Paper or Softback

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Excerpt

Introduction

A funny story is told of a retired greyhound who was interviewed

by a newspaper reporter following his sudden and unexpected

retirement. He was asked whether he considered his career to be

a success.

‘‘Very successful,’’ he replied matter-of-factly.

‘‘Did you win any money?’’ asked the reporter.

‘‘Over $5 million for my owner,’’ replied the greyhound

nonchalantly. ‘‘And I had several very successful offspring as

well.’’

‘‘Did you suffer any injuries?’’

‘‘No,’’ he replied with the confidence of a champion.

‘‘Why, then, are you retiring?’’

The greyhound stared off for a moment, then answered. ‘‘I

found out the rabbit I was chasing around the track wasn’t real.’’

We have learned so much in our study of greatness. Chief

among those lessons is that we all chase rabbits throughout our

lives. This chase leads to vague feelings of frustration and unhappiness.

It also leads us far away from anything approaching what we’d

define as a better way to live. Living a better life simply gets lost in

the daily race. None of us wants to live chasing imaginary rabbits.

But what do any of us really know about living our lives on

a higher plateau? How can we take hold of a better way of life

that we vaguely sense is possible when we’re so burdened by the

day-in, day-out rabbit chase? How can we live and work in a

way that brings not only more financial and career success, but

also a deeper and more meaningful real-life satisfaction at the

same time?

True greatness is living life on a higher plateau than just

counting possessions, achievements, accolades, and goals. Those,

as it turns out, are fake rabbits. True greatness happens when your

life is centered on the deeper concerns of life that we all share,

like finding peace and experiencing satisfaction with ourselves.

True greatness is about making choices from an out-of-theordinary

mindset and about having the feeling that your life is

getting some meaningful and satisfying traction in the right direction.

True greatness is about living a life filled with joy, passion,

success, excitement, and peace.

Everyone is always fascinated by the person who in midlife

decides to quit his job and go work at a mission in India. Or the

person who cashes in all her insurance and investments and starts a

nonprofit project to buy shoes for Brazilian orphans. Or the person,

like Paul Newman, Oprah, Bill Gates, and others, who after experiencing

great life success decides to invest much of his or her time

helping underprivileged people get a life worth living. All these

people (and thousands like them) decided that their lives were

about more than just accumulation. Life began feeling pointless to

them, and they took action, often in a radically different direction.

True greatness is about seeking a special kind of ‘‘more’’ in

life. It’s not about gathering and keeping a staggering amount of

money or possessions, though there’s nothing intrinsically wrong

with that, but about having a profound sense of personal selfworth,

worthwhileness, and a satisfaction that goes beyond material

things.

This kind of greatness, true greatness, is a soft, urgent, calling

within nearly all of us. You’ve certainly felt it: that magical something

within you, urging you to live from a different and more

meaningful place. It’s the subtle, practically transcendent urge to

be a better person, to give rather than take, to forgive and be

kind, and so on. ‘‘The biggest human temptation is to settle for

too little’’ said the famed philosopher and theologian Thomas

Merton. He was referring to chasing rabbits: settling for less than

joy, the fruits of great character, passion, excitement, and the

thrill of exercising our unique calling in life. He was observing

that most people simply settle for something less than true greatness.

It’s our goal to help you aim at that higher plateau of life and

never again to settle for simply counting possessions as a means of

feeling success.

We hope that you recognize this calling within yourself and

push yourself to pursue the simple path to true richness we describe

in this book. We believe that not only will you discover

more real world riches and success along the path, but that you

can avoid the greyhound’s dilemma, and begin experiencing a

new kind of life that you can truly fall in love with.

Excerpted from TRUE GREATNESS:  MASTERING THE INNER GAME OFF BUSINESS SUCCESS by Kevin Elko and Bill Beausay. Copyright © 2009 Kevin Elko and Bill Beausay. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission. All rights reserved. http://www.amacombooks.org.

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