In The School of Greatness, Howes shares the essential tips and habits he gathered in interviewing “the greats” on his wildly popular podcast of the same name
Greatness is not just holding a gold metal at the top of a podium
It’s about inspiring people, about sharing a message, about believing the truth in that cliché: It’s the journey, not the destination to some perceived treasure or moment of adulation. In fact, there are a million ways to be great and a million more things to be a great at. Most of them don’t come with a medal or a giant check.
In fact, there are a million ways to be great and a million more things to be great at. Most of them don’t come with a medal or a giant check.
Consider this list:
Being a parent, being an artist, being generous, being a leader, being a change maker, being an advocate, being healthy, being an entrepreneur, being of service
All of these are amazing dreams where greatness is a worthy and attainable goal. Those who have become great at any of them–irrespective of plaques on their walls or trophies on their mantels–are the people we can all learn from.
As Shawn put it to me, ‘Greatness means having pride in yourself, being happy with yourself, knowing you’ve worked for something and couldn’t have done anything more. That is greatness itself.’
It is cultivating the character and habits that not only lead to success but also help you overcome any challenge or adversity. It’s about lifting yourself up from the depths of despair and using mindfulness, joy and love to harness your dreams. It is a progression through a series of lessons–eight areas of focus and continual improvement.
1. Create a vision
Most great athletes describe their ability to visualize the outcome they desire in a competition. They know what they want and where they want to go. It is as much a part of their process as any aspect of training. As the famed acting coach Lee Strasberg put it, ‘If we cannot see the possibility of greatness, how can we dream it? Now, what is your dream?
2. Turn adversity into advantage.
It’s hard to find the story of someone who has achieved greatness who did not face some sort of significant adversity. When you look more closely, you see that this adversity actually helped them–it put them on the path toward a unique and individual form of greatness. What challenges do you face and how can you use them to develop greatness?
3. Cultivate a champion’s mindset
What does it take to become a champion, and how does a champion see the world that she is trying to conquer? Visualization, meditation, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence are tools that help you understand who you are and where you are at any given moment in your life and allow you to find joy and fulfillment in the moment. This is where greatness takes root. How can you view the world through the eyes of a champion?
4. Develop hustle
We all face obstacles and seem to have an impossible amount we need to get done. Many get stuck at this wall, but what separates the greats from the rest of us is that they reduce the wall to a barrier and make it into something they can climb over. It’s also important to never stop hustling–even after we’ve accomplished a goal. Where will your hustle and energy come from?
5. Master your body
No one chooses the body they’re born with, but almost everyone has the ability to build and maintain their physical assets far beyond what they imagined. It’s all about thinking like a champion, training like a champion, and eating like a champion. Are you taking care of yourself?
6. Practice positive habits
How many hours exactly does it take to achieve mastery and greatness? It’s not about a number, but great things will happen if you practice a certain skill over and over again. Building positive habits is a necessity to achieve your desired goals. And having a deep belief in something that can support those habits, be it religion or community or family, is a key ingredient in the recipe of greatness. What positive habits can you add to your daily life?
7. Build a winning team
You can’t achieve greatness alone, period. Success is a shared process. Finding the right mentor and making the best use of that mentor or coach is a requirement. So is building a team of partners, employees, supporters, and fans. Success is all about developing and cultivating healthy and fruitful relationships–not just with your peers on the field on the endeavor but also with those who can truly challenge you–in all aspects of your life. Whom do you need to join forces with?
8. Be of service to others
Trophies and rings and fat bank accounts have a surprisingly short shelf life when it comes to greatness. Research has shown that the happiest and most thriving people are those who spend their time giving back, helping others, and participating actively in their communities. In fact, the best gifts are the ones you give; they make your own achievements that much more fulfilling. How are you going to contribute and help others?