The Best in Us

“When we first came to the Spanish Riding School three years ago, you said we’d be expected to give the best that was in us, that you would settle for no less. And as time passed, we saw that you meant it. It was difficult because I don’t think any of us knew what the best in us was or even where to look for it but you kept demanding until you made us find it. And for that we thank you because we can take it with us now wherever we go. Prost!” – a toast given by one of Colonel Alois Podhajsky’s riders in The Miracle of the White Stallion

To my mind one of the greatest privileges we have in life is the opportunity to help others actuality the greatness resident in them. I say resident in them because I have discovered over time that greatness is not manufactured externally, pasted on or appended to the individual like a new title or degree. The challenge is to find a way to draw it out, to inspire its expression, a task that is much easier said than done.

The seeds of greatness are ever-present in each and every human being on earth. These seeds must be tended to, watered and exposed to the warming rays of the sun, while the weeds in the garden of the individual must be carefully removed to prevent them from choking out the new and delicate shoots of greatness. A steady diet of love and respect goes a long way to germinating these new seeds, but you must invest trust in those whom you serve. In a sense, you have to trust them more than they trust themselves.

I’ve learned over time that some people will thank you for the leadership, guidance and support you’re given them, while others will turn and rend you once they’ve gotten what they thought they could get from you. I’ve also discovered that to remain a leader, to maintain your integrity in living, you must not let your heart be overly troubled by those who abandon you. Likewise, you mustn’t let your heart be overjoyed by those who appreciate you. There is a golden mean betwixt the two extremes which allows you to provide for and bless those within your sphere of influence steadily, consistently and fully.

Once you’ve “received” such a blessing from another, you can take it wherever you go, for that which was “given” was present in you all along.

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10 Responses to The Best in Us

  1. Kai Newell says:

    Thank you for sharing that toast. I must declare it again that your blog is my #1 favorite for keeping in touch with the reason I do what I do in my professional and personal life. Inspiring!!

  2. Isabelle says:

    Great point, thanks!

  3. Lady Leo says:

    Well said. I believe we are not “self made” or created by another, our powers are not that omnipotent. I do think we can totally obliterate the possibilities that we were blessed with from our Creator or we can provide the medium that lets them flow and increase. We do it for ourselves and each other. I’ve found when I encourage another’s growth I benefit as well. My capacity increases and my ability to see the potential in others is sharpened. Sometimes just expectation can unleash surprising aptitude. Great subject. I think this makes the possibility for truly meaningful relationships.

  4. Chuck R. says:

    Perhaps the greatest privilege that we have is to assist others in seeing and learning how to live with the greatness that resides in themselves. There are many starting points, not the least of which are, as you mentioned the extension of trust to them. Also on that list are encouragement, expectations, high standards and an impeccable example on ones own living.

    And when those things are offered to others it is clearly a blessing to the one who offered whether or not what was offered was accepted or not.

  5. Vincent says:

    If we look back occasionally on the course of our lives, I expect we appreciate almost more than anything those who saw value in us and managed to cultivate that value despite all the weeds that could easily have choked and overcome it. It takes vision, patience and no small measure of love to tend the gardens of our lives in this way, but the results that spring from the seeds of living potential in others are what can make all the difference longer term. Thanks for the vital emphasis.

  6. Jordan says:

    Great post, Gregg! I appreciate your words of wisdom every time I stop by. I find it interesting, too, that it seems at all points of our life we should be both growing our roots and finding more seeds of greatness to plant while helping others weed their own gardens and plant more of their own seeds simultaneously. The trick to not get too caught up in one task or the other, lest you forget to be concerned with the weeds in your own garden or find yourself inwardly focused tending only to your own patch of ground, or even worse- wait arpund expecting others to do all the tending for you. It is a fine balance to achieve greatness and to help others cultivate it so that it may spread, too!

    • Gregg Hake says:

      It is a balance, but one that life favors. Once in balance you are aligned with the core compulsion of life itself!

  7. Steve Ventola says:

    Thank you for providing leadership for your world. It is an inspiration to do the same for my mine. I took note of your point about having trust in a person more than they have in themself. It reminds me that many times patients will tell me that they know what they need to do but just don’t do it. I can see this as a pivotal point for me to provide trust in them that they can follow through with what they need to do. Yes as we are the example we can provide the trust needed for another. Thank you for the reminder to accept responsibility for our worlds.

  8. Colin says:

    This are truly words to live by. I believe that we each have the potential to be much more than we can even imagine right now. That is not a platitude, either. It is something that motivates me every day not to put an upper limit on who I can be or what I can achieve. None of us know what the day will bring, and none of us can choose for any other. What we can do is choose for ourselves, and making decisions based on the knowledge that we always have the capacity to do more than we are doing makes it so much more likely that we will eventually realize our full potential.

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