Greatness or Goodness

I am taking a much needed rest this week .. after having worked hard over the past few months without a break.

I have started to experience “burn out” symptoms yet I struggle to “unplug” and keep away from my mobile & tablet – which appear to be increasingly attached to my core .. an essential part of my everyday routine. Or am I just deluding myself?

Earlier today, I watched a documentary featuring Mike Tyson – talking about his autobiography .. he talked about his youth and how, with age, he is becoming increasingly humbled .. by life .. by family .. by reflecting on what ‘greatness’ really means. Having achieved many trophies (or more correctly, ‘belts’ in the sport of boxing), he now discards them and refers to them as ‘trash’ with little real value or worth. The man previously known as ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson is now like malleable, softly spoken, tender and considerate who chooses every word carefully as he engaging in discussion .. Today, he prefers instead to focus energy on his wife and children … his family and lives – simpler life free from the shackles that almost destroyed him .. money, fame, vices and women.

This got me thinking .. why is it many of us strive so hard every day at work? 

We constantly feel that we need to prove our self-worth, our value .. often seeking approval and recognition of our ‘output’ and ‘contribution’ to those around us – our team, our manager, our company .. others who hold some form of power and control over us. 

We work ‘for the man’ (and perhaps, in today’s world, ‘for the woman’) striving to provide for our families, pay off mortgages and other debts which continually mount up because this is what is expected of us who live in a capitalist society (in the West) .. where time with family is sacrificed for the love of money and therefore the excuse of work .. whatever that means. Sadly, by the time we figure things out, we are either too old to enjoy the fruits of our labour, or are busy handing down to our children and worrying about setting them up for their future .. which hopefully will be nothing like the lives we have lived and endured .. in this ‘dog eat dog’ world.

This is made harder still by our ever changing world continuously disrupted by technology wizardry .. surrounding and engulfing us .. in digital make belief .. while there is devastation (man made and natural) around us .. viewed through our TVs, web browsers, mobiles and tablets .. increasingly connected as we begin to embrace IoT, IIoT, AI and all other fascinating technology led revolutions.

Depending on our own definition of ‘greatness’, we can either achieve success through demonstrating ‘goodness’, by ‘walking the walking’, by showing the way to those around us .. sadly, many of us are in a rush to achieve ‘greatness’ quickly opting to take short cuts, to cheat the system, to somehow fast track success. 

Without becoming embroiled in philosophy or religion, many of us are unable to combine ‘greatness’ with ‘goodness’ as we somehow fail ourselves or others or a combination of the two … 

Ofcourse, throughout this article, I am (ofcourse!) speaking about myself .. while, at the same time, hoping that there are many others out there who are experiencing the same torment, equivalent pressure, similar desires and aspirations – to be able to live our lives with a balance that affords us time with our loved ones while also being considered success amongst our peers in the workplace.

So how do we achieve ‘greatness’ AND ‘goodness’ .. are these mutually exclusive or is there a way to attain both?

I continue to reflect .. hoping that I will learn of answers that work for and help me find some form of harmony .. and peace.

If you are reading this, I hope you find your answers too .. assuming any of the above resonates with you. 

If not (its probably me, overthinking everything!?!), I wish you continued success – whatever that may mean for you.

Adieu xx


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