Wanna be great? Learn it from Nietzsche himself
Thus spoke Zarathustra:
Maybe you are someone with crazy ideas? Maybe you believe you have always been different from others. Maybe they have made that clear to you before.
That you are a weirdo, a misfit, a freak. Well, forgive their ignorance. You see, though it might seem that they told you this just as an observation, it was not.
This creates some form of hidden resentment (Nietzsche took this far in the genealogy of morals when he talks about ressentiment, but that is for a later post).
Because being unique is not for everyone. And many, out of knowing that they are just commonplace, grow resentful of those who courageous enough to dictate their own way of life.
In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche speaks of a ” teleological force” present in everyone of us which is there to elevate us from “a lower spiritual state to a higher”.
In other words, everyone has it in them to be great. To add to that, Zarathustra’s speech reveals that we feel this potential for greatness more often than we think.
He says that everyone has sensed this force several times in their life in the form of “aspiration“. And, I am sure you have at least once in your life felt like you could be better.Wanna be great Wanna be great .
Better known, better paid, or better understood. Some feel this more than others (which may explain why some people are just more ambitious, or expressive than others, take the caricature of the “tortured artist” or the “serial entrepreneur” as examples).
So how does one access this force?
In Thus Spoke Zarathustra
And this is not easy. It is not something that you achieve overnight. It is a process by which you train your base self to aspire for a greater way of being. It is almost like training a muscle; overtime it grows stronger, and thus, more capable.
One of the ways by which you can train yourself is by doing little things every day which get you out of your “nest of comfort“. Start where you are, and challenge yourself day by day. Remember, the important thing here is not change (this is way too big and vague for a start). The important thing here is progress.
My favorite way of doing this is saying yes to whatever seems to offer a challenge; it could be a creative project, a walk to a less visited spot of the city (stay safe, people!), or a somewhat risky investment of my money, time, or emotions.
If doing this ever gets hard, then you are doing great. Because that is how it is supposed to go in the beginning. In the beginning, your base self must resist being elevated from its fallen state. And those around who are still operating from this lower way of existing will make it even harder for you.
“And now they look at me and laugh: and laughing, they still hate me. There is ice in their laughter.” – Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Now, when I talk about the “base self”, I am also not telling to repress animalistic impulses such as lust, pride, and the desire for power. In fact, I am ready to make the bold claim that greatness starts from embracing both your good side and your evil side.
You see, you are only truly good as a person when you become fully aware of your ability to do evil. You have to first accept that you are capable of cruelty, that is the only way you can gain control over your evil self (but I am digressing, so let’s leave this for a later post).