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Trained Goodness vs. Natural Greatness: A "Mind-Shift" for Visionary Parents, Educators and Leaders

Aug 17, 2007
Consider this...

Inside of goodness it's inherently very difficult to be great. Very difficult. Greatness means being willing to risk the very thing goodness requires: the approval of those who say what is good and what is not.

Yet consider that greatness is inherently simple. It's natural. It's simply a matter of returning to you--to your natural conscience or consciousness--to your innate call to courageously face reality honestly and courageously act in line with your values.

What's actually hard is being "good" in so many other people's eyes--all the time. Everyone judges you by different standards, standards which can change at their whim. On top of that others' perceptions of you are always limited and always changing. See how it's hard to be good?

Now consider how your conscience or consciousness is continually reminding you not to ignore or compromise your values for others, and you can see how it can be harder to be "good, rather than great!

Yet we're trained from birth in the art of being "good." We're trained at home, in school, at church, at work, etc., etc. We become so conditioned for goodness, that goodness becomes easy and greatness becomes difficult.

Greatness becomes extremely difficult, because we've been trained all of our lives not to think for ourselves and act courageously on our own thoughts. We're trained instead to defer to others' judgment and to follow their lead.

So when it comes time to stand for something in the face of authority's or majority's criticisms, we don't want to be outcast. We don't want to lose their estimation of us as a "good" person. So we choose goodness over greatness. And with every such choice, our spirit dies a little more.

Being true to yourself and living a heroic life doesn't need to be a constant uphill battle. The more willing you are to let go of "goodness," the more swiftly and naturally you can step back into greatness.


In a related article, we asked, "What separates the person of goodness from the person of greatness?" and we saw how the person of greatness is guided primarily by his own consciousness and conscience. The person of goodness on the other hand is primarily guided by others.

We also saw that being guided by conscience is quite natural, and thus greatness could be quite natural for human beings. So why then, we asked, do we receive so much goodness training?

There are plenty of good excuses for goodness training. Rather than concern ourselves with why it exists, let's take a closer look at how it works, and what its affect is on our natural greatness.

Goodness training starts early. Most all of us have been taught what to believe, who to follow. We've been rewarded when we believe and obey, and punished when we question and disobey.

In fact, to be successful, goodness training must override one's natural greatness. Let's look at how this works. Natural Greatness is evident in the two functions of conscience, as discussed in the last session:

1. To lead us to FACE (self-honesty, courageous inquiry)
2. To lead us to STAND (courageous integrity)

Goodness training requires that we,

1. Look to the leader for guidance (rather than face)
2. Follow and obey (rather than stand)


Highest Value:

Trained Goodness - Appear good in the eyes of others
Natural Greatness - Respect and honor in own eyes

Guidance Values:

Trained Goodness - 1. Blind faith (not looking for inner guidance, not questioning, not facing) OVER self-honesty/vision (looking for inner guidance, questioning, facing)
2. Blind obedience (being true to highest outer guidance) OVER integrity (being true to highest inner guidance)
Natural Greatness - 1. Self-honesty OVER blind faith
2. Conscious integrity OVER blind obedience

Conscience orientation:

Trained Goodness - Turn outward, away from conscience, towards a leader's vision
Natural Greatness - Turn inward, towards conscience and towards own vision


Trained Goodness - Growing self-distrust, anxiety, self-doubt, dependence, disconnection from self
Natural Greatness - Growing self-trust, peace, confidence, inner power, connection with self

Reaction/Response to Consequences:

Trained Goodness - Seek more external guidance
Natural Greatness - Seek more internal guidance


Trained Goodness - Decreasingly powerful vision, awareness and grasp of reality
Natural Greatness - Increasingly powerful vision, awareness and grasp of reality

Caution: Goodness training often results in fearful minds. And fearful minds look first for agreement and disagreement, as if exploring new ideas is a matter of defend and attack. "I agree with this, but not with that." Fearful minds react quickly to ideas that seem to conflict with their own. They run back to their position and hide behind the safety of the walls of their beliefs and judgments.

Great minds relate to conflicting ideas differently, and the result is ever-emerging wisdom and vision. So be conscious of how you explore.

And please remember to relate to the terms in this article, as defined in this article, rather than how you may define them. For example, if faith means something different to you, then understand that we're not talking about that kind of faith.

Most disagreement and miscommunication in the world happens when we assume that someone else means the same thing we do when using a certain word, when he means another thing entirely. So, if there is disagreement, first look to understand the other person's context or definition. There may be no disagreement at all.

And, rather than looking to see if you agree or disagree, look to assemble the new ideas into a puzzle you've not seen before.


Tomorrow's visionaries will not be accidental or "born" visionaries. They will consciously guide themselves by new protocols that give them ever-expanding powers for guiding themselves with conscience, wisdom and vision.


The more you face yourself and reality and look within for guidance, the more powerful your vision becomes.


As much of a leader as you may be in many areas of your life, look for areas in which you doubt yourself. Who do you defer to? Whose guidance do you seek? What gives them more ability than you to know what's so, or what's best for you? How can you reverse the cycle of dependency, and put yourself on a course of looking within to build ever more wisdom, power and vision?
About the Author
As founder of the Vision Force Academy, Michael Skye works with a new breed of impassioned change agents around the world, who are giving their lives to stand for all of humanity. Michael is best known for his transformational leadership trainings, based on his proprietary iStand technology. He authored the the Visionary Mind Shifts for VisionForce.com.
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