We read about the great people of our time to find their inspiration for a life of risk and uncertainty, how they overcame the challenges of their life, and why they never gave up – no matter the adversity or criticism encountered. We study great people because we want to learn from their stories, their hardships and their triumphs. We converse with great people because we want to be inspired to achieve greatness in our own lives, a fact that is certainly within our grasp.
Greatness, in contrast to what some believe, is not a circumstance a person is born into. Most are not born to be multimillionaires any more than others are born to be the best tennis players of their generation. Those who become great are among the chosen few not solely because of their birthright or talent, but because of their passion and fearlessness. Great people have certain traits and characteristics that make them unique, but these traits are common to most men and women.
In studying the great people of our time, the most striking revelations were the similarities in their paths to greatness. Those who become great did so because they followed their passions, overcame formidable obstacles, went down swinging for what they believed in, and left a legacy of honor, decency, and goodness. These are the defining characteristics of the great people of our time, a remarkable story of those who led purposeful and meaningful lives that fulfilled their destiny and made the world a better place to live.