We are all capable of greatness

Schalk Neethling
4 min readJan 28, 2023
Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash

I recently listened to a conversation between Rick Beato, Tosin Abasi, Tim Henson, and Misha Mansoor. Towards the end of the recording, they discussed how music, sports, art, and other areas have advanced at a dizzying pace in the last few decades.

An interesting idea was discussed that made me think. People are exposed to so much incredible talent. Our concept of what is possible is constantly challenged. It leads me to believe that there is greatness in all of us. The difference is what you believe is possible and the influences in your life.

If you are a nine-year-old and see someone play the guitar like Tim Henson, you can look at this in two ways. One version of this has become all too common. This version says that this person is a prodigy or “special,” so there is no point in striving to achieve what they have achieved. Should you flip over the same coin, you can see this as an example of what we are capable of and reframe it as a challenge.

This will lead you to believe that you can achieve the same greatness if you work hard. Is this a potential source of stress? Yes, it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. I think we are too quick to find reasons why we can’t reach the same artistry or success as someone else.

What if we stopped looking for excuses? What if we stopped believing that we are less capable than others? What if we saw failure simply as an indication that there is more to learn? What if we stopped labeling people as superhuman? What if we started to believe that just maybe we can be superhuman too?

I have done myself a disservice for a long time by believing I am somehow less capable. Of course, we all have our own unique skills, but I’m beginning to think we often use them as an excuse not to reach for greatness in other areas of life. It’s too easy to say, “I’m just not good at math,” or “I’m not a creative person.”

Our brains are incredible but also highly suggestible. If you repeatedly tell yourself that you cannot achieve a certain goal, why are you surprised when you never reach your goals? Over the years, you have been stacking the odds against yourself. In this age of unprecedented access to the collective knowledge of the entire human race, both the present and all of recorded history, are we not doing ourselves a disservice by saying we cannot?

The saying “the universe is conspiring for you to succeed” suggests that unseen forces work in our favor to help us achieve our goals. It implies that even if things seem difficult or impossible, there may be a larger plan at work that will ultimately lead to success.

It is often said that “if you cannot see it, you cannot be it.” This has two sides to it. On the one hand, it is important to see diversity in the careers, jobs, and success stories that are shared. This helps us to believe that if others like us can do it, so can we.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a revolutionary show. It was not just about the comedy but the barriers it broke down. It featured an all-black cast that showed all walks of life, from the young rapper to the wealthy and highly respected uncle and many in between. It changed how many people thought about what was possible for them.

If we are made of the same stuff as the universe, and if we are made of stardust, then the entire universe is behind us, encouraging us to dream bigger.

After listening to this conversation and considering its implications, I think we are doing ourselves a disservice by not pursuing our dreams. I urge you to take a chance, look at what humanity has achieved, and believe you can be great too. Dare to dream big, dare to fail, dare to get back up, and dare to trust in your own potential. Then, take action and be a role model to others of what we can accomplish when we reject labels, ignore restrictions, and realize that our circumstances are not obstacles. Believe in your natural ability.

I look forward to hearing your stories of greatness.

Update: This talk came across my path just as I hit publish.

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Schalk Neethling

I write about mental health, addiction, sober living, living your best life through an active lifestyle and a whole food plant-based diet. Psychedelic curios :)