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You Were Born to Do Great Things

by David DeFord

Watch for my daughter’s name, Sarah Williams. Her books will hit the young adult fiction best-seller lists soon.

In her yet-to-be-published book, West of Ideal, Sarah writes, “Deep down inside, every girl knows she was born to do great things. The trick is to find out what those great things are.”

I believe that completely.

Every person is born with great things to perform. But finding our great things proves to be one of life’s greatest challenges. Many don’t find them because they settle for much less.

You were born with abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Like me, you may be able to read well and write moderately well, but can’t change a spark plug. Or, you may be able to overhaul an engine, but can barely read.

We all have our strengths. We all have some specific great things we have been born to do.

Babe Ruth was born to hit and throw a baseball. He was also born to love and inspire kids. He was not born to write treatises for scholarly journals. It’s wonderful that he found his “great things” and performed them like no other.

Few people actually perform the “great things” they were to do. Why not?

Some don’t realize their greatness within.
They don’t see it. Their lack of confidence keeps them down. Haven’t you sensed greatness in someone and known that they didn’t see it in themselves?

Some pay too much attention to negative feedback.
Criticism comes with greatness. I’m sure even Mother Teresa had some people nagging at her—telling her she can’t do this or that. But she knew the importance of her work and she pressed on.

Some join with or marry others who hold them back.
It’s true that those with whom we associate have much influence in how we live our lives. If our friends or spouses express jealousy or ridicule our strivings for greatness, we are less likely to achieve them. But in the glow of encouraging relationships we can accomplish most anything.

Some give up too early.
We never know which great obstacle is the last one that stands in front of our “great thing.” If we persevere, we are more likely to reach our potential.

So how do we find our “great things?”

We weren’t born with a UPS bar code on our cheeks that indicated what great things we were to accomplish. We have to find it.

I have a very complicated solution to this dilemma. I have lived it in my life and have seen it work for others. The technical term for the solution to finding your “great things” is “try stuff.”

Yes, try stuff.

If Babe Ruth had never come in contact with Father Mathias and tried to play baseball, he would have missed one of his great things.

If Yo Yo Ma didn’t try to play the cello, he would have missed that great thing.

Most of us have to try many things before we find our great ones. But if we stick with our mediocre accomplishments and never try anything new, we’ll never find our great things.

Try stuff.

And as you try stuff, realize that you have greatness within you. Don’t listen to the naysayers and jealous companions. Don’t give up too early.

You have greatness in you. You have great things to perform. I challenge you to seek for them and live them.


I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscience effort. Henry David Thoreau

Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. William Jennings Bryan

I shall not remain insignificant, I shall work in the world for mankind....I don't want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living, even after my death! Anne Frank

I can't believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary. Lou Holtz

Greatness after all, in spite of its name, appears to be not so much a certain size as a certain quality in human lives. It may be present in lives whose range is very small. Phillips Brooks

Let us consider the nature of true greatness in men. The people who can catch hold of men's minds and feelings and inspire them to do things bigger than themselves are the people who are remembered in history….. those who stir feelings and imagination and make men struggle toward perfection. Henry Eyring

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. Woodrow Wilson

Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but for greatness, because greatness is determined by service. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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