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Guest Post: Greatness and Humility

A few days ago, I wrote an open letter to a good friend of mine - "I Think Greatness is Something You Are, Not Something You Do" - I said to him, I'm not a great man, just a normal man working on great things. Greatness is something you do, not something you are.

To give you some background, my friend Brendon is just one of the most amazingly good people in the world. He takes care of everyone around him, his mind, body, and spirit are sharp. He's a black belt, an excellent programmer, a philosopher, a Shodan in Go (actually, even stronger than that - he's a Shodan under the Asian rankings, so probably even higher in America), a hard worker, extremely loyal, a clear and free thinker, widely read and knowledgeable, and again - an amazingly good guy. I've learned a lot from him (notably, he taught me how to play Go, sysadmin Linux, understand basketball at a very high level, improve at martial arts, improve my fitness, and other good stuff - we'd usually go drink green tea and play Go at Samurai Restaurant in Boston, go fight in the park, talk philosophy out at nightclubs, do stuff like that).

He wrote back to me about greatness and humility. I think this is a really beautiful piece, so I asked him if I could gently edit it and put it up. He graciously agreed. It's long, but go ahead and just start it and give it whatever time you have - there's a lot of amazing insight in here.

A Quick Favor Request - if you learn from this or it helps you, please send Brendon a quick email to mail@bobz.in - he was actually a little gun-shy about having such a personal piece put up with such raw power in it. He only agreed when I told him how many people it could help - so please, drop him a short line to say thanks if this teaches you as much as it did me.

Without further ado...

Dear Unhappy Former Self

On Life Listed (Beta)

Dear Unhappy Former Self,

At lot has changed since we parted ways…

The basic differences are easy to point out. First and foremost, I am in a lot better shape than you. I am about 60 pounds lighter and a whole lot more agile and flexible. Whereas, you got winded after a 50 ft dash to answer the phone, I can now maintain a dead sprint for half a mile at sea level without losing my breath. It might seem hard to believe but I also heal faster than you. Injuries and bruises are gone sooner for me than they are for you. The world reacts in better ways to my presence than it does to yours. When people give me a double take, it is no longer to make sure I am not trying to sneak candy into a movie theater.

I also feel a whole lot better than you. I sleep less hours but feel more rested. I have more energy but eat less sugar. My mind feels sharper but I take no medications. I am better at doing mental math, remembering names and communicating my ideas. I have improved focus, stamina and discipline. You have cheap beer and even cheaper promises.

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