Feed the Greatness of Others

Life is so much better when the people around you are striving to be all they can be.

If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by people climbing up, you shouldn’t take it for granted. You should take time to feed the greatness in the people around you.

Most people have high ideals for their life. But most people also tend to be acutely aware of the gap between reality and their ideal. Self-criticism comes with the territory of self-improvement, but sometimes it leads to despair.

If you have climbed any height successfully, your words and opinions have power with other climbers. You have an opportunity to counter the self-criticism and doubt in a way that actually means something to someone. You can provide the much-needed second opinion. Sure, their inner critic may be right that there is work still to do. But you can look from the outside and see their effort, their creativity, their nobility, and the life they bring to others. And you can tell them about how it looks from your perspective.

Climbers are also dealing with a world which can tend to think their highest ideals are unrealistic or even ridiculous. They are probably shy about sharing how high those ideals are, for fear of being mocked. So don’t just validate the work – validate the ideal. If someone wants to be like Harry Potter or Iron Man or Jesus or the Buddha, look for the ways they are meeting that ideal and tell them.

I have had my work and my ideals validated* before, and in the midst of a desert of self-criticism and doubt, encouragement is shade and water.

If you have credibility or any kind of respect for any reason, don’t waste it. Don’t flaunt it. Your words matter now. Use them to feed the greatness of others.

*Sure – external validation shouldn’t drive you. But it’s a nice gift and good feedback nonetheless. 

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at jameswalpole.com.