I’m a dreamer.  I have always dreamed of making some kind of significant contribution to the world.  When I see greatness in others, whether in academics, sports, business, entertainment, or other fields, I am inspired to achieve greatness myself.

The reality, however, is that in any worldly or public sense, my achievements are quite mediocre.  I don’t mean to demean myself or to seem ungrateful for what I have- I try to recognize my abilities as well as my many blessings.  Realistically though, unless something drastically changes in my life, my influence will have reached few outside of my immediate family.

About changing oneself- are there things so fundamental to our personality that we cannot change them?  For example, I’m an introvert.  I’m quiet, reflective, and slow paced.  I’m deliberate.  I’m conservative.  I’m a good listener but don’t articulate myself very well verbally.  Not that I want to, but if I wanted to be more of loud, fast paced, spontaneous, risk-taking, quick- talking extrovert, how would I even begin to do that, or can I?

When I see someone like a Randy Pausch, I’m amazed at their accomplishments, their zeal for life, their positive outlook.  My wife is like this, and I think that is why I was drawn to her- she compliments my weaknesses.  Perhaps the best thing I can do is to look for and appreciate my own strengths more and to focus on ways to develop my own skills and abilities and to use them to serve and help others.

Regarding greatness, I enjoy this quote by President Joseph F. Smith:

“Those things which we call extraordinary, remarkable, or unusual may make history, but they do not make real life.

After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all mankind, is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman. . . . It is true that such secondary greatness may be added to that which we style common-place; but when such secondary greatness is not added to that which is fundamental, it is merely an empty honor, and fades away from the common and universal good in life, even though it may find a place in the desultory pages of history.”
    -originally appeared in
“Common-Place Things,” Juvenile Instructor 40, no. 24 (15 December 1905): 752; quoted in BYU Commencement address by Elder Christopherson on 16 August 2007

True greatness then is often not seen by the world but is achieved by quietly serving within our families and helping them to develop their own unique potential.  I will probably never be known to the world, but with some help and work, I probably can be a great husband and father.

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