As a child, I thought I would be more than I am today.
Growing up I wanted to be an astronomer. I taught myself a bunch of constellations and was addicted to Star Wars and science fiction movies. Maybe that says something about me.
I told myself it meant I was imaginative and creative…
…but it really meant I was a dreamer and a watcher.
Isn’t that what astronomers are?
They watch the heavens and attempt to witness origin.
I was watching my own life, waiting to see success materialize. I lived through movies and books and assumed that one day I’d be chosen by some unforeseen entity for my Hero Moment.
Every science fiction movie has a Hero Moment. The story’s protagonist is forced into a character defining challenge. The Hero is chosen for greatness… chosen to be more than they were when the story began.
The Hero is chosen.
For a long time I waited to be chosen.
I assumed my day would come. The day when a defining challenge was set before me… I would naturally rise to the occasion and life would be roses for eternity.
Growing up in humble means, with unambitious parents, I believed they were unwilling to capitalize on their Hero Moment. That life had given each of them an opportunity and they simply passed, opting for a more obscure life.
I wanted to believe in destiny. I wanted to believe I was destined to break free from the craphole town I grew up in (strategically positioned between failure and apathy) to substantially impact the world.
I wanted to believe that when it was my turn to be chosen, I would step forward and ride the escalator of greatness.
I would embrace my Hero Moment…
slay the dragon…
save the princess…
find the treasure…
give to the poor…
…and bask in the glory.
But this is the path of the science fiction hero.
These are the dreams of a poor, young, naive boy with no understanding for everyday realities.
I will never be chosen.
…and neither will you.
What my child self didn’t understand, couldn’t understand, that now, as an adult I know see clear as an October morning is this:
We make our own Hero Moment.
My Hero Moment will come when I will it to be so. Only when I’ve put in my 10,000 hours, woven a spider web of networked relationships and established an infrastructure President Eisenhower would envy, will my moment materialize…
…and here’s the rub my friends. I won’t even know it’s my Hero Moment.
Contrary to what we see on TV or read in books, our Hero Moment isn’t actually a moment at all. It’s a lifetime dedicated to achievement. It’s 100, 1,000, maybe even 10,000 moments that pass us by without fanfare or celebration.
It took me 32 years to realize I was never going to be chosen for greatness.
What greatness means to you individually is of little circumstance. It could be starting your own company, speaking at TED, writing a bestseller or simply providing a slightly better life for your children than the life that was provided for you…
…what matters is that you take control of your greatness.
Choose to be great.
Choose to be the person that you were meant to be.
Most importantly, choose today.
Thank you and Good luck,
I am Ryan Hanley
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How do we “choose to be great?” What does Greatness mean to you? How did you picture yourself as a child and have you actually become that person today?
I’m asking because I want to know…
image credit: http://society6.com/mawill/FailureSuccess_Print