The Olympics have certainly been inspiring to us all. Truly great athletes pitted against one another in competitions at the highest caliber. These phenoms seem surreal. And at times their greatness seems unobtainable to mere mortals like you and me. Compared to them, can any of us really be great?
Enter one of the newest Nike commercials: “Find your greatness.” Emerging from the horizon is a single runner. As he approaches we become aware that he is no elite marathoner. He is an overweight adolescent boy pounding it out, step after step.
To quote the ad, “Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is a gift reserved for a chosen few.” That would seem to be in keeping with what we’ve all seen in the Olympics. “Greatness is no more unique to using than breathing. We’re all capable of it.” This is the reality. The Olympics for all its great spectacle is truly not something we will experience. But our thinking is wrong to believe that greatness is reserved for Olympians.
Which is the greater feat: competing in the Olympics, or losing 200 pounds through diet and exercise? In my practice, I take care of patients who are elite athletes and those who have achieved phenomenal weight-loss. Both are great.
And here is where we get off track. There are no degrees of greatness. Greatness is. Your greatness may be different from mine, but it’s not greater. Greatness is a quality, not an achievement. “We are all capable of it. All of us.”
This is true.