Towards Greatness

Winning does not tempt that man.
His growth is: to be the deeply defeated by ever greater things.

Rainer Maria Rilke

This was a quote I included in my book The Weight of My Soul: Uncovering My Significance. I am glad after two years since discovering this quote, I still think about it when I contemplate how I live life. Moreover, I am appreciating his words ever more. Is Man masochistic to seek defeat? No, of course not. Man knows greatness does not come without a single defeat. He is probably the only creature blessed with the faculties to appreciate and know greatness. There is no getting to greatness without traversing the yellow brick road, we cannot achieve greatness through comfort.

A tougher problem offers opportunity for intellectual growth; a heavier weight, physical growth. A breakdown or disruption in life offers opportunity for growth and deepening of our soul. In every discomfort lies an opportunity for growth. It is a testament to the resilience and malleability of human beings.

To be soft and malleable is to allow for growth. We allow ourselves to take in the nutrients we need to grow while retaining the flexibility and possibility of how we grow. We were given soft animal bodies to be impressed upon, to be touched, and to feel warmth and love. When our heart and mind feel secure and safe in our body, they can rest; they can be and do what they were meant to do—to feel and think without the grip of past experiences.

A conversation, then, begins to unfold within: amongst an open loving heart, a calm discerning mind, and a soft steady belly. In this resting state, we uncover our power to be, and act, in this world. From this place, we can falter and fall, and in each fall, choose to intimately know our vulnerability, then rise again. And each time we rise, therein lies our strength shining through what was once vulnerable.

Each proverbial defeat offers us a chance to see distinctly who we took ourselves to be, and learn about who we truly are: fallible beings with infinite potentialities. From this, we get to choose again who we want to be.

Even in our finite time on Earth, we are constantly offered the chance to grow.

Towards greatness.