Social Question

valdasta's avatar

Do you want to be great?

Asked by valdasta (2139points) April 16th, 2010

I don’t know why, but I have always wanted to be “great” at the things I have done. If doing my best didn’t make me the best, it wasn’t good enough. It seems like I am good at a lot of things, but not exceptional.

Are you like me at all?

I have a theory why I am like this: I have always longed to win the approval of my father, but never seemed to get it. This may be why I try to do so many things…and try to be the best at what I do.

Here is another thought: maybe I am exceptional in the eyes of others in one area or another, but not to my self. Isn’t this true with those who suffer from eating disorders; they see themselves as fat, but they are actually skin and bones?

For those of you who have this longing to be “great”, what is your theory?

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32 Answers

thriftymaid's avatar

I used to want to be great, and now I am.

AstroChuck's avatar

Want and am.

plethora's avatar

I’m with @thriftymaid. Two truly great people on one thread. Imagine that.

majorrich's avatar

I would settle for ‘good’.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I’m happy with just getting things done. If I get my perfect house, car, and boat, then I’ll be great.

TexasDude's avatar

I’ve always said that I won’t be satisfied with life unless I do something that warrants having a book written about me, or at the very least, a Wikipedia entry.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

You can always be greater than you are.

jazmina88's avatar

I am incredible with all my faults and imprefections

ohhh the irony

Bluefreedom's avatar

Yes, I want to be great. I thought I was once but it turned out that I was only good.

earthduzt's avatar

Just happy, if I’m happy then I am great.

Flair's avatar

To be recognized in general is a common desire. The feeling of people admiring your exceptional abilities in whatever activity is addicting. Who doesn’t like to be “awwwwwed” over? To be recognized and esteemed is a great feeling.

This can be a decent thing. It can serve as a drive to do great things, quality deeds. It can be a motivator that pushes you to the next level. BUT the line between decent and unhealthy is grass blade thin. The drive can turn into your sole motivator and reason to “get it done.” This leads to discouragement when people fail to admire your “awesome” talents and, in the last stretch, counter-productivity.

I too share this “I have to be the best!” trait. I want to dominate. Everyone knows inside that second place isn’t good enough – it’s first or no glory. The average adult can tell you that the Wright brothers were the first to build a plane that actually stayed in the sky, but how many people can also the name the person (or people) that made the second flying plane? Not many. It’s first or nothing.

A main reason for it is to be remembered. The greatest will be remembered. The second placers will not, or they will be remembered as losers or “insufficients.” There is also a longing for personal glory, to have your name known on the streets, or just in your community or circle of friends. A reason for me is my competitiveness. I like to prove that I can do it better, so na na na na to the incompetent. It’s a nasty part of my character I’m working on, hopefully I will be more gracious and/or more humble in the near future.

Summary of my theory: The drive to be great is about having your peeps recognize you, as a talented and/or worthy individual. Underlying that is pride and security and….

Bla Bla Bla. Run on Run on Run on. I am getting sick of my own voice here. Ha ha. Ramble ramble ramble….I’ll stop here before I bore myself to sleep. Enjoy the “theory.” :)

breedmitch's avatar

I want to always be better.

“Great” is for someone else to decide. I can’t control that.

Coloma's avatar

There comes a time when obscurity is whats great. lol

thriftymaid's avatar

@AstroChuck @plethora We’re almost a club. Need a few more.

stevenelliottjr's avatar

As long as I’m happy and healthy I will be fine. I don’t desire ‘greatness’ in the sense that I’d want to be famous. I strive not to be great at my profession because I don’t consider it work. I love it and when you do what you truly love you become naturally great at it. Greatness comes from doing things that will impact many people—for better or worse. There can be great successes and great disasters too don’t forget. I’m rambling now… It’s too late to be on the iPhone.

ZAGWRITER's avatar

I just want to be happy and make my family happy. I can make myself happy by being great at what I love: being a father and writing. I want to be a great husband too, but that will never happen (long story). So I shoot for best 2 out of three. If I hit those, that is batting .667, which would make me awesome!

Cruiser's avatar

Why settle for great when you can be “Marvelous!! ” ;D

Zen_Again's avatar

“Great” is an accepted term, and non-problematic, in my opinion. Your liking it to eating disorders is true, to a certain extent, of perfectionism. That is another problem. Check yourself: are your striving for perfection, or striving for excellence? If the latter, then you’re fine; if the former, well, show me something perfect in this life. There isn’t; and the need for perfection is a doorder all unto its own. I won’t link to articles, as there have been literally thousands of studies (google the subject and Harvard or New York Times) and read about the difference and see where you are with regards to it.

zophu's avatar

All healthy people wish to be great. Just remember: great is not synonymous with alone.

squidcake's avatar

I realized I wasn’t “great” at math, so I stopped trying.
I realized I wasn’t “great” at piano, I stopped taking lessons.
I realized I wasn’t a “great” dancer, so I stopped taking classes.

Wanting to gain approval from your father definitely could be a cause.
For me, it’s just my crippling self-consciousness.

jazzjeppe's avatar

Nah, mediocre is good enough.

lillycoyote's avatar

Most days I’d settle for just being normal, as opposed to being “eccentric.” :)

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Being great at something often means sacrificing something else.

ucme's avatar

I’m from Great Britain says all I need to say.

wonderingwhy's avatar

I want to be able to take pride in my effort. To believe I gave it a worthwhile effort consistent with my interest and intent.

I have a theory why I am like this: I have always longed to win the approval of my father, but never seemed to get it. This may be why I try to do so many thingsā€¦and try to be the best at what I do.
Interesting. I feel like I have noting to prove to anyone including, for the most part, myself.

Are you like me at all?
Perhaps! But, in this respect, it would seem no.

Gemini's avatar

I think I am like you in a way. I do want to be great at most of the things I do—especially if I’m doing them for someone else. I like to feel pride in my accomplishments. I don’t mind doing some things with a less than “great” result but that’s just if they’re not important enough to me to bother. I strive for happiness which earthduzt mentioned is great!

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

All my life I have wanted acceptance from my parents, but they were more interested in their drinking and druges. It took me years to accept myself. But to be honest I would love to be great. Even famous. BTW good question.

Berserker's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard If you ever have a wiki entry about you, I gotta read that.

I’ve long learned that most people’s expectations of me are a waste of my fucking time. If I drop sweat and blood for something, it’s for myself, and I’d rather work at something for a given and constructive result that I can benefit from, whatever that way is, instead of recognition.

Despite this however, I am rather arrogant and probably think way too much of myself, and I personally believe that just me walking down the street should be accompanied by Carmina Burana.

valdasta's avatar

@MorenoMelissa1…I was hoping for: “great question….” Oh well.

Thank you, fellow Flutherites for the GREAT responses!

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