Being Famous and Being Great

Are you famous or are you great?

There is a big difference between being famous and being great. Just because one is famous may not mean that he or she is great and the same thing goes otherwise. Just because one is great may not mean he or she is famous.

Recently, the Discovery Channel aired a four-part special on the top 100 greatest Americans. Matt Lauer hosted the show each week for one month; half a million nominations were gathered online. At the end, the top twenty-five Americans were announced. The results were what most people would call a mixed bag: Among those on the list were Abraham Lincoln and Arnold Schwarzenegger Bill Clinton and Billy Graham Thomas Jefferson and Tom Cruise, Walt Disney and John F. Kennedy, Dr. Phil and Michael Moore. The mixture of historically great leaders and entertainers like Michael Jackson and real estate mogul Donald Trump begs the question: What do we think "greatness" is?

Fame is based on what we get in life, but true greatness is based on what we give in life. It is contribution through action.

This is why those who are not famous may not necessarily be great and those who are really great may not even be famous after all.

Next is a story of what fame and greatness is combined. Please read...

Years ago a young black child was growing up in Cleveland, in a home which he later described as "materially poor but spiritually rich."

One day a famous athlete, Charlie Paddock, came to his school to speak to the students. At the time Paddock was considered "the fastest human being alive." He told the children, "Listen! What do you want to be? You name it and then believe that God will help you be it." That little boy decided that he too wanted to be the fastest human being on earth.

The boy went to his track coach and told him of his new dream. His coach told him, "It's great to have a dream, but to attain your dream you must build a ladder to it. Here is the ladder to your dreams. The first rung is determination! And the second rung is dedication! The third rung is discipline! And the fourth rung is attitude!"

The result of all that motivation is that he went on to win four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He won the 100 meter dash and broke the Olympic and world records for the 200 meter. His broad jump record lasted for twenty-four years. His name? Jesse Owens.

Both the teacher and the student are great and famous. Not because of what they got but because of what they gave.

Giving is what makes people great.

Let me ask you a question now.

Are you famous or are you great and better still, are you both great and famous?


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