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When I introduced Al Rainaldi’s excellent first video, ‘Elements of Greatness’, in a recent post, I got a great reaction.  This is the second of Al’s excellent pieces on the topic of greatness.

In ‘Principles of Greatness’ we look at the foundations that must be in place to give one the strength, confidence to lead and make the right decisions in times of crisis.

Before you watch the video let me ask you to take a pen and paper and write down the names of three people you think of as being great.  Now, let me ask you…

… was your own name on the list?..

If not, then now you know what the objective of this video is – to help you do what you need to do to get your name up there.  We should all be aiming at greatness – all the time.

Principles are the ethical backbone that lead us to do the right things – they are the foundations of great relationships and great businesses.  These principles are timeless, unchanging and universal.  They are as meaningful now as they were 100 years ago, and as they will be 100 years from now.

When Al  Rainaldi introduced this video a few years ago at the Profiles International conference he accompanied it with words that moved me greatly – so I haven’t tried to improve upon them: I have simply plagiarized his excellent insights in this post. All credit for this post to you Al.

The 12 Principles

They engender greatness – if you wish to be great you could do worse than develop these 12 principles:

  • Values.  The worth you place on people and core beliefs that influence you as you weigh your alternatives before making a choice.  It is easier to demonstrate values than to teach them – live your values if you wish to be great.
  • Honesty.  Honesty requires both the integrity to speak the truth but also the sensitivity to do so with no intent to hurt or mislead.  Brutal honesty is all too often just brutality – but sometimes one must hurt to be truthful.  Be honest – whatever the cost.
  • Compassion.  What clearer sign of greatness than the demonstration of compassion and a clear will to help and lift others?  Don’t allow logic to rob you of compassion.
  • Trustworthiness.  Be worthy of belief and trust.  Earn and re-earn your reputation for trustworthiness.  Don’t over commit, and when you commit – deliver.
  •  Kindness.  Kindness is an attitude – a commitment to treat others generously.  Kindness comes only from the strong of spirit.  Don’t let the world wear down your basic kindness.
  •  Honor.  You don’t receive real honor for what you receive – but for the service you give to others.  Give service to others in need of it to be worthy of true honor.
  •  Fairness.  Oscar Wilde said: “Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not”.  Life may not be fair – but we can be.  Make the decision to be fair.
  • Loyalty.  Be slow to be loyal to any person or cause.  But when deserved give your loyalty totally, and when you do be true to that decision.
  • Respect.  It is far better to be trusted and respected than to be liked.  Respect for yourself guides your morals, respect for others guides your manners.  Be respectful to all.
  •  Fortitude.  Principles give you the strength of mind to endure adversity and challenge with courage.  If it feels wrong it probably is – cling tightly to your principles.
  •  Wisdom.  By three methods you can learn wisdom.  First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is bitterest.  Reflect upon the wisdom of those around you and learn from them.
  • Integrity.  The strength to live according to your principles regardless of what life throws at you.  A life lived with integrity, even if it lacks some of the trappings of fame and fortune, is a shining start that others will willingly follow.  Be true to yourself.  Do as you say.

Greatness if Within You

These Principles of Greatness are not skills to acquire – they are already within you.  Greatness is not a trait, but a habit of living by sound principles.  Aristotle rightly said that “We are what we repeatedly do”.  Live by the principles of greatness and you will be great.  Even if that greatness, to you, seems always just a little out of reach, to those around you it will be obvious.

You have the foundations of greatness within you.

Now, what will you build on those foundations?

Is there anyone in your life you consider embodies greatness – if so, why?

Share your experience of greatness in the Comments section below

  • Aoifegorey

    Beautiful video Deiric. Mr. Rainaldi does have some serious talent and a way with words. Inspired everytime I hear him present.

  • Aoifegorey

    Beautiful video Deiric. Mr. Rainaldi does have some serious talent and a way with words. Inspired everytime I hear him present.

  • Rolf Rageth

    Deiric – Great video; unfortunately I have never met Al. Cheers Rolf from Switzerland

    • Thanks Rolf – the man himself is every bit as inspiring as his videos – next time you’re in US let’s get you together with him