Greatness in the Everyday: Inspiring People to Live a Meaningful Life (English) Stephen Covey

Introduction

Occasionally, we hear stories of people doing things that are heroic and talented in nature.Perhaps you’ve A few times a year, we get to learn about folks who are truly heroic and gifted. Scientists throughout the world have been making some incredible breakthroughs. Actors, dancers, musicians, and businessmen are all examples of people who thrive in their respective fields. Most of the time they reflect a level of excellence that deserves recognition for their contributions to society’s advancement. However, we should be aware that greatness can take on a variety of forms, one of which is more valuable than the rest. “Everyday Greatness” is the name given to it. Everyday Greatness is a manner of life, not a one-time event. It’s not so much about our abilities as it is about who we are as people. Our actions, no matter how simple they may appear on the surface, are judged by the intentions behind them. Even though it’s a small thing, it has a big impact on our lives and those of others. Learn the values and ideas that can help you find a greater sense of purpose in your life inside this book. You can gain motivation to live a life of meaning by reading about the struggles and triumphs of others. So, are you all set to embark on your enlightening adventure at this point? Be ready to turn the next page after that. Be confident in your abilities and see how you can make a difference in the lives of others.HI! This is {speaker name}.To sum it up, I’m a mental health advocate and holistic psychotherapist who also happens to be a breathwork facilitator, energy healer, and writer. At the Institute for Human Arts, I’m the co-founder of a transformational mental health training institute.I am happy you are here, so let’s start.
 

Contribution

At some point in our lives, we find ourselves questioning the reasons behind our existence.Most of the time, we find it difficult to seek answers, while there were times when we feel like there was a calling for us, telling us to act upon something.  We may not know yet what we were meant to do. But often, those calls of life are a sign that each of us wants to be part of something valuable — a contribution that will help us make a better world for all.Time will come, and life will push us to choose whether to contribute or do nothing at all. When it happens, it is important to have a stand and identify what purpose we want to pursue. It could be something far from our comfort zones or just hidden within ourselves. Nevertheless, we should know that there is something greater we could provide that is just waiting to be uncovered.
 
John Baker was an aspiring runner since high school. Back then, he was considered “too uncoordinated” to qualify for the sports. But he became a runner when he suggested joining the team after his best friend refused the coach’s offer. Soon, he was claimed by sportswriters as one of the fastest runners in the world.After graduation, Baker became a coach at Aspen Elementary School in Albuquerque while undergoing training for the 1972 games. When he reached twenty-five years old, Baker found out that he has cancer. The doctor told him he only has six months to live.On a Sunday before his second operation, Baker drove to the mountains. There, he thought of ending his life for his family not to suffer anymore. Upon closing his eyes, the faces of the children whom he taught suddenly flashed. It was the moment when he decided to spend his remaining time with them.
 
Despite the pain he often feels, he continues to coach children. In 1970, Baker was asked to teach small girls named “Duke City Dashers.” Along with their training, Baker taught them always to do their best. He also predicted that they would qualify for the finals.Baker’s prediction came true. That time, all he hoped for was to live long enough to witness the finals. But after some days, he was brought to the hospital. Unable to go to school, Baker just thought of calling the Dashers every day to remind them always to do their best.In the early evening of November 23, Baker died.
 
Two days after his death, the Dashers won the championship. Their win was dedicated to Baker. After some time, Aspen was renamed “John Baker” Elementary to honor the legacy that Baker contributed even to his darkest times.The story of John Baker just shows that even if we don’t have control over the problem we face, we still can choose our response. John Baker did not choose to have cancer, but he still chose to contribute. By pursuing his purpose until his last breath, Baker was able to touch and inspire the lives of the children. More than that, he surely feels rewarded for how he provided meaning to his life. 

Charity

Every person in this world has their way of living life.  Some may be living in a self-centered view, while others are selfless. In finding our meaning, it is important to look towards others.Most of the time, it is in giving ourselves to others that we find life’s greatest meaning through charity.Charity is about giving our hearts, talents, mind, and anything that we have to make this place less difficult for others to live in. It’s about being selfless. For in helping others, we truly become rich.Simon Alexander Hayley was born in 1892 and was raised in Savannah, Tennessee, a small farming area. He was the eighth child in their family. Back then, it was believed that if a boy stayed in school until he was old enough to work on the farm, he would be labeled “wasted.” So her mother’s wish was for him to be educated.
 
When he reached the sixth grade, Simon’s mother persuaded her husband to send their child again to school. Then, Simon finished the eighth grade. But her mom was still not satisfied, so she asked her husband again to let Simon finish high school. After many arguments, Simon’s father finally gave him hard-earned fifty dollars and sent him to Lane College.Soon, the money was already consumed. So, to continue Simon’s studies, he worked as a helper, waiter, handyman and, in winter, he made fires in the homes of the richest. Through his jobs, he was able to finish Senior High school. Simon then proceeded to college, where he struggled in his first two years. When he was nearly at the end of his second year, he failed a course for not having a textbook he couldn’t afford.
 
The situation made Simon lose his hope and he thought of going back to the farm. But days after, he was chosen as one of the black college men to be a summertime sleeping car porter.Encouraged, Simon immediately accepted the offer.One time, while he was working on a train, a man asked for glasses of milk for him and his wife. When Simon handed them the milk, the man began talking with Simon, which the company prohibited. But the man seems to be interested in Simon that he even followed him to the porter’s cubicle, asking him some personal information. When the train already reached the destination, the man gave Simon a tip and wished him well.

For the whole summer, Simon saved all the tips he collected, which he used for paying for one semester of his college.When Simon returned to the campus, he was welcomed by the college president telling him that the man he met on the train named Mr.Boyce was a retired executive of the Curtis Publishing Company. He donated five hundred dollars to sponsor Simon’s educational needs for the entire school year. The surprise grant made him become the first in the graduation class in college, which opened his way to becoming a scholar for master’s degree at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
 
Decades had passed, and Simon already had a family. Often, his children get to reflect on Mr. Boyce’s generosity and how his help to their father also benefited them. Without the scholarship, Simon’s children would probably be living on a farm, struggling to get an education. Now, all of Simon’s children have already been successful in their chosen careers.Through Mr. Boyce’s act, he gave hope to Simon and help him reach his dreams.More than that, his help also extended beyond its original intention as it spread through generations. Truly, no one could tell how a single act of charity could impact a larger number of people.

Attention

To find meaning in life, some people think that we have to make big contributions to impact millions of people. But most of the time, it is usually about taking our time out of our busy schedules to focus our attention on someone who needs it — to make them feel valued for a moment.Tyler Currie is an elementary school teacher. During the first day of class, he found out that one of his students, named Rommel, a fourth-grader, still doesn’t know how to read.One time while he’s reading a survey about his students’ dreams, Mr. Currie was alarmed when he found out that Rommel submitted a blank paper. So, he immediately searched for Rommel to talk to him. From their conversation, Rommel told him that he is a special education student and the only words he can read are the few ones taught by his mother. He also added that he is not interested in sports and music, but he likes art.
 
Rommel’s inability to read at his age made Mr. Currie think of something he could do to help Rommel. For his two years of teaching experience in that school, it was his first time being challenged to teach a student who barely knows how to read. Even Rommel’s special education teacher told him that Rommel could never read.But unlike others, Mr. Currie was determined to teach Rommel. In his class, he found out that Rommel was not stupid, for he excels at Math, and when it’s story time, Rommel is an active listener. So after the Christmas holidays, Mr. Currie developed a plan for teaching Rommel. He called it “Pinching words,” wherein they would spend ten minutes reading a story every day. Mr. Currie mostly does the readings, while Rommel is responsible for recognizing the pre-selected words in the story.Whenever he failed to recognize it, Mr. Currie will then pinch Rommel in the arm.
 
Weeks passed, and Rommel still made no progress. He even got into a fight that made him be suspended from school, which was not the first time. When he returned to school after a week, Rommel’s mother pleaded with him to listen to Mr. Currie for him to finally learn reading.Deep within Mr. Currie, he knows that Rommel was not the problem. He believes that it is them, the teachers, who failed to pay attention and teach Rommel.Luckily, Mr. Currie was given a tiny classroom in the school where he could tutor Rommel. Without pay, he would teach Rommel one consonant and vowel sounds for nine hours each week. For every new sound, Rommel would make and draw a character as his version of the mnemonic system. Whenever he forgets a sound, he would just look at his drawings that were pasted in the room walls. Eventually, he finally learned to blend sounds and form words.
 
After some weeks, Rommel and Mr. Currie went to the principal’s office. There, Rommel started reading which made the principal and her mother so proud of him. After this, he was then trained in writing.For a long time, many concluded that Rommel will never learn to read anymore. Not until Mr. Currie came who chose to willingly teach him, even without pay. With Mr. Currie gave his full attention to Rommel and shared his knowledge which revealed Rommel’s potential.In searching for our meaning, we should never underestimate the value of giving someone attention. This way, we can make others see their worth and feel that they are cared for.

Responsibility

searching for our meaning motivates us to create a plan for the contributions we want to do in life. However, nothing would happen only until we take charge of ourselves and accept our responsibility for making our dreams happen.Whenever life does not go on our way, we often create excuses or blame others. But for us to develop progress, it is important that we know how to take responsibility for our every action we make. Then, take the initiative to choose the best response for every situation.Chuck Norris was sixteen when he found a job packing groceries at a market in Los Angeles. Back then, grocery stores usually use boxes to pack heavier items.
 
When working, Chuck Norris thought that everything he does was just fine and well. Not until the end of his working hours came. The manager told him not to return anymore, for he was not packing fast enough.Hearing this message from the manager made him sad. Way back, he used to be a shy kid who’s afraid of speaking. But what surprised him is when he asked his manager to give him another chance. Chuck Norris said that he would do better if the manager will let him try again.The manager granted his request. After that, Norris started moving faster.He also worked for extra hours.
 
That day when Chuck Norris spoke up was a memory he would never forget. Through that, he realized that nothing in life would be accomplished if he just waits for it to happen. He has to take action, even if that is against his nature.Way back, Chuck Norris is also not a natural sportsman. But because he tried hard to study karate, he became the world middleweight champion for six years.When he reached thirty-six, he realized that he wants to be an actor.He has no experience back then. But he doesn’t let that reason stop him from competing against guys who have already been in films. Imagine if he didn’t take action and he made excuses, then nothing would have happened.Each day, we face daily circumstances that can influence the opportunities that come our way. But as the story of Chuck Norris shows, we create our own destiny, and we are the ones responsible for our life. Therefore, it is for us to choose our responses for every problem and situation that we face. It can include speaking up, working hard, and taking the initiative to take action.

Courage

We, as individuals, normally have our own fears and doubts. Although we cannot remove them, we can still prohibit them from stopping us by taking action through courage.Courage is not the absence of fear. Rather, it is the ability to step out and take action despite being scared. It is about knowing that there are greater things beyond our fears.Courage can occur in different ways. It can happen in public ways or in facing the private battles inside our innermost selves.Reba McEntire is a twenty-two-year-old girl who dreamt of being a star ever since she was a child. Growing up, she used to join singing contests and sang trio with her siblings. These made Reba feel that she’s going closer to her dreams.
 
Aside from this, she also was a huge fan of Dolly Parton, a famous singer-songwriter in America. Reba became a fan when she first heard Dolly on a show in 1967. Ever since that, Reba started singing almost all of Dolly’s songs and even tried hard to imitate her idol.On September 17, 1977, Reba was about to sing two of Dolly’s songs in Nashville. But Dolly made a surprise appearance that made her sing only one song. That time, she didn’t care about the songs. All she knew was that she would see Dolly, a singer whom she considered her hero.Reba studied everything about Dolly. She knew well about the details in Dolly’s life and even how she played the guitar. For a long time, Reba used to breathe and live like Dolly Parton. But soon, she finally realized how important it is to stop copying Dolly and be herself.
 
Back in her high school years, Reba remembers her mom telling her that there is only one Dolly Parton. She has to find her own style and voice. Reba knew her mom was right.It was the hardest thing for Reba to do. But with courage, she slowly learns how to break apart from copying Dolly. Although she tried hard, she still couldn’t remove Dolly’s influence on her, especially on choosing a dress. She even hired Dolly’s designer to make her same outfits as what Dolly wears. However, those didn’t work for her. Reba felt like it was not her.After years of trying, Reba finally found her own style. She is now free from listening to people what she should wear. When she puts on clothes and feels comfortable and confident with them, she knows she’s at her best.
 
Now, she does not only have her own style. Reba even turned it into a business — a clothing line of her very own. Through her hard work and courage, she was able to develop her self-confidence and even found success.In the story, it can be seen how Reba had been so scared to step out of her comfort zone and stop copying Dolly. She thought that in being herself, she would not achieve success. But by having the courage to get out of those negative thoughts and fears she has, Reba finally found her true self and be confident with it. Now, she’s already comfortable with who she is and in the success she made.

Discipline

In taking charge of our life, we need a lot of discipline. To have this, we should know what matters most in our life. More than that, we also need to have the resistance to avoid all the temptations that may come our way. These temptations are often the opposing choices that have less value to our life but are too tempting in our eyes.Joe Paterno had been a head football coach at Pennsylvania State University back in 1972. For almost seven years in that position, he thought he was already contented.Not until he received a call from Bill Sullivan, a retired president and principal owner of the New England Patriots. Sullivan offered him to coach for his team. At first, Paterno told Sullivan that he wasn’t so interested in leaving the school he loved to accept the offer. But when Sullivan told him that he’d pay $1.3 million, plus part ownership of the franchise and a $100,000 bonus for signing the offer, Paterno suddenly lost his reasons.
 
So, he told his wife that he would accept Sullivan’s offer. His wife told him that she would support him for whatever decision he would make. At 2:00 am, Paterno found his wife on a rocking chair, crying. He suddenly saw the life he was leaving behind. He looked back at the school where he met his wife, their home that his children have known, his students, the mascot representing their team, and his beloved football players.At that moment, Paterno realized that he couldn’t afford to leave all the people and things that he loves in exchange for a huge amount of money.
 
He may like coaching and winning games, but that is incomparable to the love that he has for his football team. By staying, he could watch how his players grow — in their discipline, education, and as individual beings. Deep within himself, Paterno knew that those are worth the money offered to him.In life, we always need the discipline to achieve any dreams or purpose we want to pursue. Whenever we have to decide, it is important to have a strong sense of values and priorities. Through this, we can learn how to say “no” to the temptations and the distractions that are less meaningful in our life. Without the discipline, we would easily be lost along the journey of accomplishing our goals.

Conclusion

May you apply all the lessons you learned from various stories of people who went through different situations. Regardless of the problems they faced, they still chose to act upon their principles and purpose.Now the choice is already yours. It’s upon you to decide what kind of life you would want to live. Will you settle for what you were before? Or you’ll strive to be greater each day?Remember, there is greatness hidden within each of us only if we search for it and choose to let it out.

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