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Why Greatness is a Choice and How to Be Great

Your purpose requires greatness and greatness is a choice. You are called to be great through your purpose.

God wants you to dominate through your purpose. He wants you to get results that other people are not and cannot get. He wants you to be superior in skill, superior in knowledge, and superior in impact.

I woke up one day with an urgency to do this episode about greatness and how to be great. Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this episode I want to say that this episode is not for everyone.

  • If you are okay with being average, then this episode is not for you
  • If you are someone who says “it don’t take all of that” when you see other people going above and beyond to accomplish something, this episode is not for you
Here’s who this episode is for...
  • This episode is for the person who knows they were created to do something great and they want to be the best version of themselves as they walk in that
  • This episode is for the person who doesn’t mind looking like they’re “doing too much.” Truth is, you’re always going to be too much for people who don’t do much. – Myleik
  • This episode is for the person who wants to show up in excellence but doesn’t quite know what to do to achieve it


“Whoever loves instruction and discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof and correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1 AMP

Greatness takes time. If you are going to do great things in your purpose and build something great through it, know that it will take time.

In this episode I’m talking about:

  • What greatness is and why greatness is a choice
  • What it takes to really be great at something
  • How you can get started

Listen on  Apple Podcast Spotify  |  Google Podcast

greatness is a choice

Greatness Explained

Before we dive into why greatness is a choice, let’s dive into what it means to be great? The dictionary defines greatness as being remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness. It means standing above others in some quality or position. Greatness is being marked by distinction and eminence, which is the quality or state of being excellent or superior.

I think it’s also important to talk about what greatness isn’t. Greatness is not perfection nor is it not rigidity. 

  • Greatness is not perfection. God does not require perfection from us. Done is better than perfect.
  • Greatness is not rigidity. You will need people and you will need meaningful relationships.

What Greatness Requires

Greatness is a choice, which means that it does not just happen. Besides skill and practice, greatness requires two things that a majority of people are not willing to exercise.

Those two things are delayed gratification and discipline/self-control. I’m going to break both of these down separately below.

Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification is the act of resisting an impulse to take an immediately available reward in the hope of obtaining a more-valued reward in the future. Greatness not only requires delayed gratification, but it depends on it.

I think a large part of the allure of instant gratification is the certainty of it. You KNOW you’re going to get some results. They’ll be less beneficial results but at least they will be immediate. Hitting the snooze button will give you a few extra minutes of sleep but it might cost you being late or forgetting something like your lunch because you’re rushing to make it to work on time. Buying that luxury bag with your credit card will give you access to the bag immediately, but it’s less beneficial than waiting because now you’ll be paying more for the bag than it costs because you’ll be paying interest on your credit card.

Delayed gratification is the opposite of that. It’s slow. It requires patience and self-denial which is hard because all of our natural instincts are to gravitate towards pleasure at every opportunity. While the less beneficial results you get from instant gratification are immediate and certain, the more beneficial results provided by delayed gratification are uncertain. Like, you have no way of really knowing if what you are delaying will ultimately work out. It’s a bit of a gamble.

I think more than anything, the real reason people don’t like delaying gratification is...

…because it involves experiencing some form of pain. That pain can be in the form of physical pain, mental pain, or even emotional pain. Here’s what author Matthew Kelly has to say about delayed gratification and pain. He says:

“We associate delayed gratification with pain, and we should. But we also consider pain to be bad, and that is a mistake. One of the great differences between Michael Jordan and his competitors is that Jordan was able to endure more pain. Why? Because he has practiced enduring more pain. Men and women of towering success befriend pain in one form or another. While the mediocre masses wander through history avoiding pain whenever possible, the heroes, leaders, legends, champions, and saints of every age befriend pain. You think of pain as an enemy; they think of it as a friend.”

Webster defined pain as an unpleasant feeling or sensation or complex of sensations that causes discomfort and at times emotional distress. But feelings are not facts, and unpleasant feelings are not necessarily indicative of danger or that you’re going in the wrong direction. In essence, sometimes you have to lean into the pain and carry on. Delayed gratification is one of those times.

If you’re wondering how to get better at delaying gratification I got you. Here are some tips:

1. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Remember the “why” behind your delay of gratification. What is the reward at the end for you withholding from whatever you want to do at the moment? The only real way you can know the answer to that is if you have a prize in mind in the first place.

2. Have a vision.

Over the years, I’ve realized that this is an area where a lot of us can be more clear. If I were to ask ten random people what they want in life my guess is that only two of them would be able to articulate what they want.

Vision is having a clear, inspiring picture of what the future can be. Your vision is what will remind you of where you are going when things pop up that try to take you off track. Creating a vision is not easy, and it takes time but it is absolutely worth it. I just got back from a 5-day trip to California where all I did was create my vision for the next 3-5 years. It takes time.

So, I want you to get clear about what it is you want to be great at and envision it in detail. I have an episode of the show about visualization, How to Visualize the Life You Want. Make sure to pray before you start.

3. Practice delaying gratification.

Start small and practice it as much as you can. I don’t want to tell you how to do this because the idea of what’s small will be different for you than it may be for me, so do what feels right to you.

greatness is a choice

Discipline and Self-Control

Self control is the exercise of restraint over your impulses, emotions, or desires, which is hard. It’s hard to tell yourself no, but denying your impulses and desires is such a critical part of getting what you ultimately want. Someone once said, “if you want to measure the level of happiness in your life, measure the level of discipline in your life.” I’ve never thought of discipline this way but as soon as I read it, I got it.

Author Matthew Kelly says “Never believe a promise from a man or woman who has no discipline. They have broken a thousand promises to themselves and they will break their promise to you.” Whew! That’s tough.

Here are some tips for practicing discipline and self control:

1. Remove temptations

As best as you can, remove every temptation you may have to do the opposite of whatever it is you need to do. You accomplish this by creating an environment that facilitates your ability to make choices that are consistent with what you need to do in order to be great.

We often think that we are able to make great decisions because we have good self-control or a strong will power just naturally, right. The truth is, successful, purpose-driven people are more strategic and structure their lives so as to NOT require them to have to exercise strong self-control all the time. What I’m trying to say is that as much as it depends on them, people who are great at something, typically don’t allow themselves to be placed in tempting situations or bad environments.

It’s a lot easier to exercise restraint and self-control when you don’t need to use it often. It’s easy to not get drunk if you aren’t in an environment where people are constantly drinking or offering you liquor.

2. Fortify Your Support

I’m always going to advocate for having solid people in your corner. God created us to be interdependent. None of us have it all. We NEED each other. If you need some pointers for how to build a solid squad, then check out an episode of the show I released titled, How to Build the Squad You Need. The people you keep around you matter.

One way to fortify your support is to empower your friends. Let your friends know that you are aiming to achieve something that requires certain things from you. Tell them what they can do to help  keep you accountable. Another way to fortify your support is by finding a mentor or coach; someone who can help guide you.

3. Be kind to yourself

I had no idea how harshly a lot of people speak to themselves. If you miss the mark, have a mantra or confession in place that you say that reminds you of the truth of who you are.

Before I wrap up this episode about how greatness is a choice, I want to talk about some things I recommend that will further help on the journey to greatness in 2023.

The Difference Maker

As you can see, greatness is choice and it isn’t an easy one. As you are incorporating more of what it takes to truly be great at what God has called you to, I want you to consider incorporating the below practices.

They will be the difference maker.

  1. Study. Whatever you feel like God is calling you to be great at through your purpose, study it. Become an expert at it. You have to spend time refining it, improving it, and practicing it.
  2. Put yourself in rooms where you’re the least smartest person. Author Ryan Holiday breaks this down beautifully. “Observe and learn. Ask questions. That uncomfortable feeling, that defensiveness that you feel when your most deeply held assumptions are challenged? Do it deliberately. Let it humble you.”
  3. Choose your hard. Hard things are unavoidable, so we have to choose which hard we are willing to endure.
  4. Plan. Create a plan for how you will accomplish your goals. What routines will help you achieve them. What systems do you need to implement to help. Write it all down.
  5. Find ways to celebrate during the process. Pastor Ray Murray broke this down perfectly on IG recently. The process always lasts longer than the outcome, and if we don’t find ways to celebrate during the process, we end up resenting the outcome that we prayed for. So, find ways to celebrate incremental changes and improvements you experience during your process.

Greatness is a Choice

If you take away one thing from this episode outlining how greatness is a choice, I hope this is what you take away…

If you want to be great at something you have to decide. You must decide to be great. Then after you decide, you have to put forth the effort and do the work to actually be great.

If you have any questions about anything I shared in this episode on how greatness is a choice, I created a way for you to ask me questions or send me comments anonymously. You can do that by clicking here.

Want More?

If you enjoyed this episode about why greatness is a choice, then you may also enjoy the episode of the show about how to access whether you are willing to obey God in pursuit of your purpose or this episode detailing how to move when God gives you an assignment.

Resources Mentioned


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