Unleash Greatness Within: How to Become Exceptional

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 5 AM Club" by Robin Sharma. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What does it mean to unlock greatness within? What does it really take to unleash your full potential and become exceptional at what you do?

Everyone has a potential for greatness within themselves but it lies dormant because most people are content with living mediocre lives. To become exceptional at what you do, you must abandon the path of least resistance and take responsibility for your growth.

Here is what it takes to unleash greatness within.

It Takes Courage to Unlock Greatness Within

Many people talk a good game but don’t walk their talk. They tout dreams and ambitions and regale you with ideas about how they will achieve greatness, but they don’t do the work required to achieve their goals. They move through each day like a robot, doing the same things and hoping for new results because they don’t have the courage to pursue new actions that lead to new results. 

The 95% of people content to live mediocre lives seek validation from the external world. Their egos run the show, and when they lose their status or the admiration of the outside world, they lose themselves and power. In contrast, the 5% seeking mastery realize that real strength comes from tapping into your true nature and exploring your inherent gifts. When you take responsibility for your growth, you gain courage, awareness, integrity, and willpower. 

A butterfly must shed its caterpillar skin before it can fly. You, too, must shed your old life to unleash the greatness within yourself and form a new fulfilling life. 

You don’t need much to be an influential person. Your days should be spent pursuing your creative power and vision of excellence, not material items that have no bearing on who you are as a person. Pursuits of integrity over selfishness give you the power to contribute meaningfully to the world. 

Keep Your Standards High

Exceptional performers in art, industry, and life understand that the work they put into the world reflects back onto them. Their characters are represented in the value of the work they do, and they refuse to show anything but the utmost respect for their work or themselves. 

If you want to be a great achiever, you need to go beyond the superficial level of your work. Too often, the path of least resistance is enough to get by, but you aren’t someone looking to get by. You want to unlock greatness within you, which means you need to be thoughtful in your work and consider every detail as a significant detail. Keep your standards high and accept nothing less than perfection. Focus on one piece of work to show it the respect it deserves. One great piece of work is worth a million mediocre pieces. You must aim for this level of greatness daily and do what it takes to follow through. 

Unleash Greatness Within: How to Become Exceptional

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Here's what you'll find in our full The 5 AM Club summary :

  • What the Victory Hour is and how it can change your life
  • Why an early morning routine activates your creative and productive potential
  • Why the first hour after you wake up is your most productive

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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