To be great is to be misunderstood. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you look around you on a regular basis, how many people do you think are just following the rules or walking down a path someone has told them is the “right one”?

Spoiler alert: It’s most people.

Most people have accepted the false narrative that there is only one path to what we know as success in life. Go to school, get a job, buy a house, get married, have a couple of kids.

The problem does not arise when this is genuinely what you want for your life. The problem arises when you want to walk a different path and feel judged or ridiculed for it.

You see, striving for something out of the ordinary is not something that most people can understand. They’ve never been told that they CAN do it, so when they see you putting in the work, they try to “save you.”

It’s too risky! You’ll never make it! Just play it safe!

But you don’t listen. There is too strong of a driving force inside of you that constantly serves as a reminder that you aren’t like most people. Yet, most people are around you trying to keep you from pursuing your dreams.

The sad truth is, most of them have probably already given up on their own dreams.

So, how can you persist in the face of failure? How is it that you expect to overcome all of these challenges and create your OWN version of success? Who made you believe that YOU deserve a level of happiness over all else?

What people don’t understand is that it all comes from within. You don’t need permission to be great. In fact, if you wait for permission you’ll be waiting forever, for this exact reason.

You will face opposition, and nay-sayers, and your own self doubt. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easily, and greatness is at the top of the “worthwhile” list, no matter what greatness means to you.

Just like we all have different visions of success, we all have our own definition of greatness, and nobody can ever take that away from you – but – you must stay true to it in order for it to actually come true.

This means persisting not just in the face of failure, but despite being misunderstood. Feeling like you are alone on the journey at times. On your own private island, with nothing to inspire you but your vision of what you’re capable of creating.

One of the best parts about pursuing greatness is that you get to carve your own path along the journey and witness the look of confusion on everyone’s face when they wonder where you’re going.

Then, when you finally arrive, that is when they will understand what you were up to all along.