Now, 241 years later, we see the founders of this country as courageous, bold, defiant, rebels who dared stand against an empire. We see them as larger than life, as in some way, different, if not better, than mere mortals like us.
Were they really different? Better? Destined to reshape the history of the world?
No one, despite our perception of their lives, is born to greatness. Greatness isn’t programmed into one person’s genes and not into another’s. Greatness isn’t determined solely by intelligence, or simply by the fact that someone might have a specific innate skill, though both intelligence and skill help. Greatness is achieved one action, one decision, one dream at a time.
But no one action, no one dream, no single decision, is sufficient to achieve greatness. In fact, greatness requires something more. Something more difficult, more demanding.
I find myself remembering my second year at Yale. Professor George Lindbeck had given me three D- grades on three successive papers. I was livid. So, I decided to find out what his issue was – I had never received such poor grades.
I confronted George on a cold, October afternoon in the quad as he was on his way to his office. He listened patiently, and then replied, “All of your life, wherever you have been, you have been one of a handful of exceptionally bright people. Look around you, Falcon. This is Yale. Everyone here is exceptionally bright. What matters here is how disciplined, determined, and focused you are.”
George didn’t wait for me to respond. He just turned and walked into the building without speaking another word. As for me, I stood there, in the deepening cold, shocked by what he had said.
While it is true that every revolution in the history of the world – for better or worse – began with one person who saw the world, not as it was, but as it could be, it is just as true that dreaming isn’t enough to change the world. No one can dream the world to be a better place. But a person who has a great dream, armed with discipline, is someone who can.
I have often been asked how I survived a childhood that bore a striking resemblance to “The Grapes of Wrath.” Confronted when I was seven by the death of a child my own age, I was given two different messages.
The first was this was my fate as well, and, there was nothing I could do to change it. The second was given to me by my grandfather. “If,” he said to me, “you can envision a world in which you do not die on the farm, and write that dream upon your heart, suffer for it, live for it, work for it, whatever you dream will be yours.”
He was right. When life is difficult, when I am forced again to confront the possibility that I will lose my sight, I touch my heart, awaken my dream, and do the hard work.
Falcon is an International Speaker and Innovative Visionary. He creates the artistic image for his audiences and clients to: “See the World Again. For the First Time!” Whether with his voice, camera, or pen, Falcon’s goal is to create an emotionally compelling visual experience that will provide you with a competitive edge. Falcon is ready to take your audiences to a new level, helping people understand what it means to be human!