Author Jim Collins Reveals the Enemy of Greatness

By James Mills, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International

Legends are those who have achieved great things in the world. Many of us will look at legends and wonder what it is about these people that has enabled them to succeed in the way they have. We may have come from similar backgrounds and even be more educated yet find that we haven't had the same opportunities. To help us, the author Jim Collins made an incredible discovery from his in-depth study of what the world's most successful organisations have done to achieve sustained success at the highest level.

The Enemy of the Great is... the Good!!

This seems like such a strange statement. How can it be that something good can have a negative influence on our ability to achieve great things? Jim Collins explains in the quote below from his book "Good to Great".

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” - Jim Collins

We may come across good opportunities and try to fit as much as we can into our busy lives - yet find ourselves becoming exhausted trying to pack everything in. We don't want to let others down and say 'no' because that may look bad.

So what often drives us? The idea that the more we do, the better our lives will be. We settle for what's given to us, rather than actively seeking out the right opportunities. Legends have taken the time to reflect on what it is that they really want from their lives. Quite simply the clearer we are on what we want, the easier it is to know what opportunities to say 'yes' to and more importantly what to say 'no' to!

So what does this mean in practice if we don't apply it? It means we settle for mediocrity. It may mean languishing in a job that is ok, but doesn't excite us. It may mean spending time with people who we have a laugh with, but who we don't really connect with on a more meaningful level. Or it could be that we just don't know what we want to do with our free time, so we just while it away in front of the TV.

As Jim Collins says, it is 'just so easy to settle for a good life'. To break away from the good in order to pursue a great life is definitely not easy!! How do we do it? How do we differentiate between those goals and tasks that are crucially important and those that are just important? How do we build great relationships instead of good ones?

What differentiates good and great in someone's life? Greatness is the degree to which someone becomes aware of and accesses their potential. That can be expressed in many ways like building a successful business or social enterprise. It could be through building a family. There are many ways that your uniqueness could be expressed. If you would like to explore this more then get in touch with your Legends Report introducer.

One thing I do know for sure that has made an enormous difference to me personally and professionally, is being around other people who are also aspiring to build great lives.


Some questions to think about....

Do you feel you are in danger of settling for a good life or are you on course for building a great one? Do you feel you are at risk of having at best a good life? No matter how small the risk, is it really worth taking? Do you know what it takes to realise your undiscovered potential and build and a great life?


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