"I long to accomplish a great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker." – Helen Keller
Duty, valor and courage is not reserved for those exceptional incidents that involve life threatening situations. It has more to do with choosing to walk the high road, do the right thing and give our all when no one is watching and scores are not kept.
We are not defined by what we do on exceptional occasions. Our habits and general conduct create the image that we have of ourselves and the picture of ourselves that emerges on the public square of popular opinion.
Being an unsung hero is its own reward… so long as we make one commitment. And that is committing to take personal responsibility for finding value in everything that we do.
A mature person understands that there is no such thing as meaningless task. If anything is worth doing, it's worth doing well; it's worth being done with care and attention. Just as chain in not stronger than its weakest link, a day's activities only has the quality of its lowest denominator.
The Masters can find as much satisfaction in washing a car, as they will in writing the perfect paper; climbing a mountain can be as rewarding as carrying water or chopping a tree. The task at hand has little to do with satisfaction but the intention behind the action has everything to do with it.
As the Zen Master can find enlightenment through flower arrangement or the preparation of tea, the cosmopolite man can find wisdom by performing the most menial task. Only little people are too big for small tasks.
Duty, valor and courage are the hallmarks of the complete person. It is the standard that defines the elite and it is the standard by which the elite lives. The two are completely interconnected and one cannot exist without the other.
These values are not the birthright of a selected few. In some cases, it might be inbred but, for the better part, it stems from a personal commitment where the decision to live by the highest standard is the only acceptable option.
We were all born with the seed of greatness but that seed needs to be recognized and nurtured if it's to come to fruition. The hardest part of the process is recognition of the fact that we were born to be great in our own way.
With that recognition comes the responsibility to assume the role. That's the scary part and the main obstacle. For years, we've been told that we can't do this and can't do that and, all of sudden, we're supposed to be omnipotent. No wonder that, in most cases, the entire concept of personal greatness is not even considered.
Personal greatness does not imply omnipotence or super-powers. Greatness means having a sense of duty, holding ourselves to the best possible principles of valor and having the courage to be true to our convictions and to uphold our commitments.
That's what it means to be great; it is the embodiment of these three words: duty, valor and courage.