Greatness is individual! Have you ever seen a copycat in anything achieve the level of exceptionalism as had the original? The old adage that the sequel is never as good as the original holds oh so true here.
While it's always a great idea to learn and gain experience from others, we have to develop a niche of our own. The secret here is expanding your mind by learning how to think and resolve issues. Perhaps you might turn to some wisdom of the past to guide those decisions, but the benchmark of greatness is forming and instituting a thought on your own. The key to that is bombarding yourself with as many sources of information as possible. When we learn to take a little from this pile of information, and wrap it with some tidbit from another source of information, then combine a little of our own input, then we arrive at a truly individual thought and plan of action. You can't be a victim of your own thinking if you bank on the wisdom of multiple sources who've walked down similar paths then add a little of yourself to achieve a better outcome. You can't have a clear vision of the future without a complete understanding of the past!
A learning organization or individual occurs when people are continually discovering how they can create their own reality! There is a drive born inside each and everyone of us. It's stronger than the urge to eat or the desire to have sex, it's the need to learn! It begins at birth and for those who succeed at achieving greatness doesn't subside until death. It never needs medication or the right setting to occur, we do it naturally everyday. Everything we do is a potential learning experience and the outcome depends on the individual's thought process. The only stumbling block is when as Grandma used to say, "you've become too smart for our own good," and we think we've learned it all. Perhaps you've met those individuals, academics or others who are not engaged in the learning process, detached intellectuals if you will. To me those people have acquired a learning disability and like any fruit on the vine, once you stop your growth process you begin to rot. It's the price that's paid for the arrogance of being a know it all.
So we have a decision to make here. Are we destined for greatness? Are we going to strive for individual thought and achievement? Are we going to fill that hunger to learn that dwells inside each and everyone of us? To be exceptional, by definition, we have to do something different, to be outstanding we have to standout. The norm is to feed our need to learn by sitting in front of a TV. Is that really where greatness is born?