12 Uncomfortable Truths About Great People

5 minute read

By Jordana Weiss

Every day, we watch as the stock market rises and falls based on the actions of a few select people. These successful people run tech companies, television networks, and investment organizations. You can learn about their habits with a search online.

We see them in the news as the media has become obsessed with the person behind the product – computers now aren’t about the technology, they’re about the lifestyle. The thing is, there is a lot about these great people that many don’t realize.

Their Work Day Looks a Lot Different Than Yours

Many people who run enormous companies start their day way earlier than the average person. Powerful CEOs and executives start their day in the wee hours of the morning, taking the time before most people are awake to get a jump on their day.

They read their email, exercise, and plan their upcoming tasks. In this small way, they’re able to center themselves and face the day in a level-headed way, instead of rushing around trying to get out the door in the morning.

They Exercise Regularly

Many highly successful people can balance their busy work schedule and personal life because they know that taking care of the mind also means taking care of the body.

Managing stress and a busy schedule becomes much easier when your body works the way you need it to. The fastest way to succumb to illness and stress is to neglect the needs of the body. Many great people employ personal chefs or trainers, enabling them to optimize eating healthy and keeping fit.

They Keep it Simple

Have you ever seen Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wearing anything other than a grey t-shirt or a hoodie? There’s a reason for that. He claims that by skipping the decision-making process regarding his outfit in the morning, he has more mental energy for other, more important decisions later in the day. Other high achievers agree with him; President Obama says that he only wears one type of suit to simplify his morning.

They Don’t Have a Favorite Type of Food

This goes along with simplifying their morning routine. Many high achievers find that their days are easier when they don’t have to figure out what they’re going to eat. In fact, many great men and women report eating the same simple, healthy breakfasts every day.

Margaret Thatcher was partial to a coffee and half a grapefruit, while Richard Branson’s breakfast of choice is fruit and muesli. They realized that by creating a routine that they like, it saves them from getting caught in an indecisive mindset and allows them to focus on real problems.

Their Path to Success Probably Wasn’t Easy

Nowadays, we like to dream about inventors and geniuses who wake up one morning with a brilliant idea, patent it, and achieve instant success. Unfortunately, this isn’t realistic. The great men and women that we see leading companies got there because they took risks early in their careers like quitting lucrative jobs to perfect their own ideas while living on a shoestring budget.

Climbing the corporate ladder or becoming the top person in a field takes a lot of hard work and dedication, which great people already know. They’ve put in the time to get where they are.

They Didn’t Learn in a Traditional Environment

Every child who has ever failed a test has probably been told the story that Einstein himself, the genius who discovered the theory of relativity, had trouble in school and was unable to learn in a traditional environment. Charles Darwin, whose book On the Origin of Species spread the theory of evolution, was a poor student who dropped out of medical school.

Many geniuses simply don’t excel in the traditional learning environment which is designed to have mass application rather than fit the needs of each individual student. This is great news for the parents of kids who struggle in school. Sometimes, great people are not a product of the environment they grew up in.

They Aren’t Always Popular

The truth is many of us in the United States have gotten more and more comfortable with the status quo. Having a leader who speaks up and challenges this often makes people very uncomfortable.

Part of the reason Donald Trump was so successful in his electoral campaign was because he listened to people who were unsatisfied.  Regardless of his platform, he was intelligent enough to listen to others and give a voice to what they wanted to hear. Many people did not agree with what he said, but not all leaders will always have the majority standing behind them.

They Can be Criminals

Often what great people say is faced with such opposition that they are jailed for their beliefs. Luckily, this sad phenomenon has mostly died out in the United States, although there are still places in the world where this happens frequently.

Look at recent history. The stories of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Aung San Suu Kyi are still fresh in our minds. Although many people look up to these leaders now, in the past, their messages of tolerance, peace, and equal rights for all were looked on as seditious, anti-government ranting

They Aren’t All-Knowing

Many times, we see so-called “great people” on television after a tragedy, promising to help victims with their vast resources. The truth is, although we feel immense gratitude to these would-be saviours, it’s usually their fault that these tragedies happened in the first place.

Leaders of large companies should have a sense of the scope of their reach, and should feel a sense of responsibility for their company’s actions. Take the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 – the company was forced to pay millions of dollars in reparations because of small details that slipped by the higher-ups.

They Aren’t Always the Ones Leading

We’ve gotten used to the idea that our leaders should be great people. We idolize them to the point that we convince ourselves they’re great. However, the political machine that’s operating in the USA forces politicians to compromise their beliefs at every turn. Instead of passionate, opinionated politicians, now we have politicians who are indebted to rich donors before they’re even in office.

Many historically great people, like Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela were known primarily for their good work before they were elected into political office.

They Must Be in The Public Eye

Great business leaders and politicians in America today have come to realize one truth: if your actions aren’t visible at all times, you might as well not be doing them.

Social media governs our lives, and often people don’t trust a public figure who keeps the details of their life hidden from the public eye. People get most of their news from social media now, and if a public figure chooses to stay away from Twitter and Facebook, they lose out on a huge amount of free publicity.

They’re Afraid But They Act Anyway

The truth is many politicians, CEOs, business leaders, and geniuses feel the same fear as the rest of us, but what truly differentiates them from the average person is that they act anyway.

They don’t let their fear define who they are, and they’re secure enough in their self-worth to know that even if a certain venture fails, they can try again. This kind of confidence is hard to obtain, but great people know that the only thing more terrifying than failure is inaction.

Jordana Weiss