Have you ever expected so much from something but when you finally got it, the satisfaction was not there? Have you ever loved the advertisement of a product but your experience of using that product was not favourable? Perhaps you have held someone in high esteem, but after a close contact, you were left disappointed? All of these are symptoms of the same problem- overrated packaging. We work so hard to create an impression that we neglect to build a reputation. Please take note of the word “build” because it implies a process of developing something from a foundation.
Glamour seems to have become the definition of success; so, a less glamourous activity is considered less successful. When you meet a friend you have not seen in ages, you spend the first few minutes assessing each other to determine who is more successful. You compare your jobs, cars, families, etc. It is not surprising, therefore, that some people find it difficult to attend reunions because they don’t “feel” successful enough.
The reason people think they are not making progress or that they are not successful is that they focus on great events instead of great deeds. Great events are characterized by crowds and glamour and they involve public displays. On the other hand, great deeds are valuable contributions made without deliberate need for publicity. Great deeds can even be done in secret and to a single person.
Many people want to be celebrated, but not everyone that is celebrated deserves it. Let us consider a few differences between great deeds and great events:
1. Great events without great deeds are but a mirage, but great deeds always result in great events. Burj Khalifa is reputed to be the tallest building in the world; standing at 2, 722 ft. The building has 163 floors and has won not less than 17 awards with respect to its height. The design of its fountain system cost Dh 800 million (US$217 million), which is illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 coloured projectors. The official launch ceremony featured 10,000 fireworks, with light beams projected on the building. That was a great event! But do you know that several great deeds went into the building that were less glamourous? There were several bits here and there such as plumbing, electrical fittings etc. But let’s talk about the foundation. While I will not go into the technical details, over 58, 900 cu yd of concrete, weighing over 120, 000 short tons were used in constructing the concrete and steel foundation. The construction took about 22 million man-hours. That, I believe, is the great deed. As we celebrate the building, we are quick to forget the foundation, without which the building cannot stand. Invest in great deeds and your great events will be guaranteed.
2. If you focus on the multitude, you will miss the individuals; yet, every multitude is a collection of individuals. Treat multitudes as one person and one person as a multitude. Your niceness to one customer (a great deed) may save your business (a great event). When great deeds are sacrificed for great events, you will stand before a crowd and be celebrated by paparazzi, but be condemned by individuals who know you.
3. We wait for great events but neglect great deeds, so we wait forever. If you have never been employed in your life, yet you refuse ‘low paying’ jobs because you are waiting for the million dollar one, you may wait forever. That is because the job that pays well will require years of experience, which you refuse to acquire because you are busy waiting for the money.
4. Many people believe they need great events as opportunities to showcase their great deeds, but only great deeds create great events. You may dream of what you will do when you become the president of your country, but I suggest that you should start doing something in your ward or local government.
5. The relationship between great deeds and great events is a continuum. First you start to engage in great deeds, after a while, you are recognized and celebrated. Then you begin to do great deeds at another level, and you are celebrated again. That is how the great become greater and the greater become the greatest.
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