I sometimes think about great people, the kinds of people who change the world, the kinds of people who make history.
I think about the great people I admire, and I wonder how do they spend their days.
I wonder how the great people of the world start their mornings. Are they early risers or do they like to sleep in? How do they take their coffee? Do they eat cereal like me? Are they morning or evening shower-ers? (Okay, I don’t think I have ever wondered that.)
I sometimes wonder what it is like to be a great person who people admire. What does a day in the life look like for someone who makes a difference in the world? Do they know when they wake up in the morning that they are going to do something world-changing that day at eleven o’clock and then have a ham sandwich for lunch?
My guess is they don’t. They say that celebrities are just normal people. I have to assume the same is true for the great men and women of history.
Doing great things is just their normal. They get up, drink their coffee, eat their cereal, and do something. And most days, what they do is probably small.
But I think the difference is that great people do small things in great ways. I think they see opportunities that you and I often miss.
I don’t think the secret to being a great person who is admired and respected and makes a difference is doing one great thing. I think the secret to being a great person is actually doing a whole bunch of very small things very greatly.
You and I are going to have a whole bunch of opportunities today. Most of them will be quite small opportunities. We will have a choice about how we spend five minutes. We will have a choice about the conversation we have at lunch. We will have the choice to speak to someone or ignore them. We will have a choice about how to resolve a conflict. We will have a choice about dinner tonight.
I think when you add up all of those small, unimportant choices, we find the very difference between an average life and a great life. It’s just that most of us spend our lives wishing for a great big opportunity, while ignoring the great number of small opportunities we have every day.
There might never be any great opportunities. Better to just take the small ones and make them great.