The Secret to Greatness – In One Sentence

Have you ever thought why there are very few great people? I think there is probably only one great person out of 10,000 at best, and most probably much less than that. But why? Most people want to be great, right? Why are there only very few of them? Here is the reason:

Most people do not pay the price of greatness

I think this one is quite obvious. Now, the next question is: why not? If there are so many people who want to be great, why only very few of them actually pay the price? The answer to these questions explains the difference between the almost 100% people who want to be great and the much less than 0.01% who actually be so.

Now I understand why. The reason why very few people actually pay the price is this:

The road to greatness is continuously painful for long time

Greatness requires sacrifices and there is no sacrifice without pain. The kind of sacrifices required for greatness is the ones that make the process continuously painful for long time. If you want to be good it will be painful only every now and then, and many people can still handle it. But being great is a totally different level. The pain is much deeper and it is continuous. Very few people can endure this kind of pain and that’s why there are very few great people. Most people naturally choose things that bring pleasures to them. It’s unnatural to choose pain over pleasure, let alone doing it continuously for long time.

But that’s what I believe is the secret to greatness:

The secret to greatness is choosing pain over pleasures continuously for long time

Very few people can do this and that’s why there are very few great people.

I want to be honest here. I’m ready to pay the price of being good, but I still can’t pay the price of being great. As I said above, it’s a totally different level. Enduring pain in several occasions is okay for me. But choosing pain over pleasures continuously for long time? I’m still not ready.


  1. “Greatness requires sacrifices and there is no sacrifice without pain.” – I believe that your world is what you believe in. If you have a conception expressed in the sentence I quoted, then sure, you have to deal with this. However, I think that there are other options…maybe greatness is just a matter of your choice? mindset? passion? does it really have to hurt? I don’t think so…but on the other hand, I guess there are people who need to go through some beliefs to learn something. anyway, interesting post, good luck!

    • Beautifully said! The only rules in life are the rules we make for ourselves.. Things are as hard or as simple as WE Concieve them..

  2. Like Joanna, greatness is a matter of choice. For some people, this is what counts most in life but for me, no. And it depends on what you mean by greatness. If you mean success in life or to be recognised internationalyy, then often, this does not imply pain. Take the case of the “Numa Numa Guy” who posted a video about him lyp-synching “Dragostea Din Tei” on youtube which made him an international phenomenon. Obviously he was having great fun doing this and I’m sure he had no idea that this will cause his “greatness”.

  3. I agree with Joanna because I question the notion that all sacrifice is painful. I think it is a matter of perception.

  4. Maybe I can put it in a different way. Great people are those who have exceptional qualities, and they achieve them by continuously pushing their boundaries beyond their comfort zone. Good people stop after reaching certain level, but great people never stop. They continuously push themselves to the next level beyond their comfort zone. Moving beyond comfort zone is painful, but great people do it continuously for long time. This is the kind of sacrifices I mean.

    The secret of greatness is choosing pain over pleasures continuously for long time

    So the pain here is “moving beyond the comfort zone” while the pleasure is “staying within the comfort zone”. Great people choose pain over pleasure continuously for long time, because they always move beyond their comfort zone.

    Of course, that’s only my opinion. I love reading your opinions which are “food for thought” for me. They are invaluable inputs from me to learn from. Thanks for sharing everyone!

  5. It’s true, most people can’t resolve to pay the price. Then again, most people don’t have a strong enough pleasure link to greatness that will outweigh the short-term pain. It’s just a choice at the end of the day. Some people want to be great, some want to watch soaps.

  6. most people don’t have a strong enough pleasure link to greatness that will outweigh the short-term pain.

    That’s a good way to put it, Mark. The pain is short-term and the pleasure is long term, but most people don’t have strong enough pleasure link to greatness.

  7. The secret to greatness besides choosing pain over pleasures,one have to bypass the roadblocks that stopped them from bringing them all the success there deserve.

    The Missing Piece is most people are unable to visualize exactly what there want, the Law of Attraction can give them the opposite of what there desire and there never see the results there want. And that’s a shame because there can be, do, have and experience whatever there want in life.

    The fact that you are reading this post is proof attraction. Some might call it an accident. Others might call it fate.But right now proof that the Law of Attraction can work for you and me is at hand.

  8. Thanks, John! Law of Attraction is definitely an interesting concept.

  9. In greatness never, never give up Dreams have to be vivid. Is a matter of chose, pain now and pleasure later which is the best for you? or pleasure now and pain later; chose…

  10. I have found that the greatest barrier to greatness is the inability of those close to you to understand. If greatness only required your pain and sacrifice, more would achieve it. Others are constantly casted doubt. I am a dreamer. I am thankful that I can see the goal and not give up until it is achieve it.

  11. Greatness can only be measured by self to the ant or elephant. All are living creature but the intake of how much is satisfactury to oneself is consider greatness as staying without food the numberof day is also considered greatness. Sorry and my apologe if greatness is measured by procession of material things on this beatiful world. Without gravity all weights light or heavy are greatless. but worldly greatness is endless.One greatness is better in past present and future.Please excuse my english .Thank you for making me think of all the greatness in this world.

  12. I agree with you Donald. Most people don’t become great because they choose pleasures more than sufferings. People usually enter the wide gate rather than the narrow gate. Patience and humility are example of things usually people escape to do.

  13. If want to be successful in Life, prepare for pains..

  14. Destiny is determined by choice not by chance. Many wants to become great without paying the price of greatness which is impossible. You must decide to follow the hardway to get to is price before pleasure.

  15. Plsease wiseone should give answer to me. People born with greatness, some, parent have put in place for them before they even came to existance. How do we classifly these type of greatness?

    • i believe that to be a great man tomorow, pain is a NECESITY. Every man has a cross to bear. Even the one born with a ‘golden spoon’ has his/her cross to carry, otherwise the ‘transfered wealth’ becomes a burden throughout lifetime!

  16. I think people don’t achieve greatness simply because they don’t look into inward greatness to manifest it on the outside. How many people know the natural capability of the human brain,which is an inbuilt greatness?

  17. chibuike ibebuchi
    chibuike ibebuchi

    so far life is concerned,no pain no gain.the spirit of determination to be great,endures pain anyway to achieve greatness.sacrifice made assures the best,though painful but keeps one on the track of being focused on our vision.pain is an integral part of the way to greatness after goals must have created in the mind,backed up with focus and selfencouragement.such pain should not to be avoided but should be seen as a preliquisite to greatness in love and fortitude.

  18. Caleb Jude Packham
    Caleb Jude Packham

    Totally disagree. You are only able to manifest success when you are in complete alignment with what it is you are manifesting. We want success so that we can feel good. But you can’t manifest success without feeling good in the process. When it feels good, then everything flows. Pain is a form of resistance. I always choose pleasure over pain and with that success flows my way. It’s universal law.

Comments are closed.