Yesterday, while in the midst of scrambling to pack for a somewhat impromptu trip to visit my family in Las Vegas, I came across a bracelet I received in the goodie bag at my figure competition back in 2012. I used to wear this bracelet all the time, empowered by its text “nothing great is given, earn it.”

earn it

In recent months, however, the bracelet has been spending a lot less time on my wrist, and a lot more time in the back of my nightstand drawer.

I must confess, I’m not really sure why I stopped wearing the bracelet. I still believe that we must earn great things in life. But there’s more to it than that. It’s not only about working hard for greatness.

What do I mean? First and foremost, the older I get, the more obvious it is to me that we are born into something great . . . life! No matter our circumstances, the fact is that we are alive! We get to experience this beautiful world and everything that it has to offer, and we have the ability to love.

Of course, what we do with this life, with our time, love and passion, the greatness we achieve, is determined by the actions we take.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “no great man ever complains of want of opportunity.” That is to say, greatness is achieved by opening our eyes to the opportunities afforded to us by life, and taking action on them.

This is true of our relationships, health, finances, and all other aspects of our lives. It is easy to assume that genetics, a “special gift or talent,” or even luck or fate determine which of us will end up great and those of us who will spend our days dwelling in mediocrity, but the truth is, each and every one of us has the potential for greatness, we simply need to rise above our self-imposed limitations and self-doubts.

Most importantly, we need to recognize that greatness is subjective. What is great for one may not be that great for another. What makes something “great” therefore is not the condition or physical characteristics of the thing itself, but rather overcoming odds and naysayers in achieving said great thing, and the pride in that remarkable achievement.

What does greatness mean to you? What are you striving for? Whatever it is, know that you can do anything you put your mind to!