Everyone knows the couch potato doing nothing with his life has a problem. But I want to talk about someone a little closer to home. Let’s talk about that student in high school with mostly A’s and a few B’s:
On the surface, this student looks like she is doing great. Her grades are above average and she is on track to get into a decent four-year college. When she gets in, she’ll continue to do well in her classes, and maybe when she graduates she will use her bachelor’s degree to get a decently paying job to support herself. She’ll move out on her own and, aside from maybe getting a few promotions and pay raises every now and again, for the most part, that will be that.
Isn’t that, more or less, the kind of life we are all working towards?
I write about that girl because for most of my life I think that girl has been me. I’m pretty good at school and I get good grades. It’s not that it comes without hard work; but I don’t mind the work so much because it yields a result that I am comfortable with.
But for me, comfort alone has never really felt like enough. Maybe you can relate…
I think the answer to why it never feels like enough has something to do with the fact that no 5-year-old, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, answers, “I just want to support myself,” or, “I just want to get good grades in school.” Yet for some reason, as we grow older, it becomes more and more acceptable in our minds to settle for this answer. We settle for comfort as opposed to greatness.
It’s not that achieving comfort is easy or that it requires no work. It’s not easy to make it through four years of college, or to stick with a job and get promoted. It takes hard work and dedication. So why is that not enough?
The truth is that deep down, whether we are brave enough to admit it or not, we all have a desire to be great—to somehow use our life to make a difference in the world, and not just “get by”. That desire is not meant to go unanswered. You may not have the most important career in the world, but no matter what you do, that call to greatness never goes away.
Greatness is more difficult than comfort because, in addition to it taking hard work and dedication, greatness mostly means being uncomfortable. It means stepping outside of your normal comfort zone to stand up for something that matters. Whereas the ends of comfort are merely food, sleep, and leisure, greatness is so much more than that. It’s about making sacrifices for and believing in something greater than yourself. We are all called to be great.
So how are you going to answer the call?
“The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness”
-Pope Benedict XVI