Chaminda Vaas was one of my batch mates at St. Joseph’s College, he was one bowler we all feared the most. His overs went for very few runs that he easily demolished the opponent into a helpless situation. Even though he knew he was really good, we used to see him bowling the nets with [...]


Goodness is an Enemy of Greatness


Chaminda Vaas was one of my batch mates at St. Joseph’s College, he was one bowler we all feared the most. His overs went for very few runs that he easily demolished the opponent into a helpless situation. Even though he knew he was really good, we used to see him bowling the nets with one stump on till late evening every day. He constantly thrived to elevate himself from good to great. There were times that our friends used to yell at him to focus on his studies, yet he continued advancing from goodness to greatness.

On the other hand, there was another bowler whom we feared to face, he drifted away with his goodness that he thought his goodness was sufficient for him to be successful always. It is a delight to see Vaas moving on from good to greater, yet it is equally sad to see the other individual living an average life with less success. Goodness is a wonderful stage of achievement but it can also be a very dangerous level at which you might stagnate all your life and destroy it with pride and stubbornness.

The worst thing about goodness is that it makes you blindfolded towards the future. Nokia was once a flourishing company, their phone model 3310 basically captured the entire world and they were looked upon as giants who can never be defeated. Unfortunately, that goodness blinded Nokia and bestowed them with a highly detrimental disease known as ‘overconfidence’. The overconfident nature of Nokia blinded them from adapting to the android technology. The world is evolving at a rapid pace and you cannot be confident of your future based on your present success.

Just because your grandfather found a good job with his O/L’s, your father could not do the same, he needed to have good A/L results in order to secure a good job. Just because your father got a good job with his A/L’s do you think you can get a good job with it too? This is the reality of the world. Therefore, what makes you think that your future is guaranteed based on your current state? That is the very reason why you should not stagnate in the state of goodness but thrive hard to reach greatness.

Not merely Nokia, but also world famous brands such as Kodak also passed away as a result of their blindness towards the future. They were overconfident in their state of goodness as they were selling enormous amounts of 35mm film reels like hot cakes. Their state of mind prevented them from seeing the future of digital photography, thus it made them obsolete when the future became the present. Just as these brands I can go on and on with similar stories about brands that died as a consequence of the company halting their improvement from a state of goodness.

I am now in my forties and I am still pursuing my education and other skill developments as I believe that as a CEO and a Trainer I must thrive for greatness because what I am good at right now will certainly be considered obsolete in another few years time. Another serious concern that needs to be understood is that once you have reached a certain level of greatness where you are unique in your field, another may reach the same level as you, at that point eventually your greatness once again transforms back to its level of goodness. The level of greatness in one era may become the level of goodness in another era. That is why we must improve our life standards on a daily basis.

In 1988, Carl Lewis set a record for running a hundred meters in just 9.92 seconds. Yet, Usain Bolt replaced the record in 2008 by running a hundred meters at 9.69 seconds and he further altered his timings to 9.58 seconds. This is the reason I insist that you must not stop even at the level of greatness, as he will not only stop growing but he will also further diminish from the level at which he stopped as the others would have elevated their standards over time.

Another disastrous situation people face at the level of goodness is that it develops a stubbornness in them that they actually have no idea how to handle the goodness they possess. If you do not secure an attitude of humbleness when you reach that level of goodness then that goodness would not do any good to you. Goodness without humbleness is like a razor owned by a monkey. The reason many people stagnate in their development is because pride has knocked them down during their level of goodness. When you are stricken by pride, you become blind to the opportunities you are offered to grow

Recently, I did a training for a group of government trainers who train entrepreneurs and I was taken by the enormous number of talented entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. Many have become obsolete as they have not updated themselves to the prevailing market conditions. You may possess a flourishing plant nursery at present, but if you do not initiate growing plants for the time to come, you will be considered an outdated business as you do not have the ability to provide for the interest of the people. There are many good garages which went obsolete as they have not updated themselves to be equipped with the latest technologies such as scanning, censors, hybrid, electric circuits and artificial Intelligence. Prior to that they were very successful garages that had a large number of vehicles brought in everyday.

Therefore, do not stop your process of personal development. Do not stop your growth plans once you reach the stage of goodness, do not be overconfident of the achievements you have accumulated over the years. Always remember that some phones which were really popular in the past cannot even be given away free of charge as they are irrelevant in today’s context.

All old-fashioned TV’s have been dumped into the trash bins. You cannot even find a cassette tape recorder or a Betamax recorder. Even though they had an extraordinarily demand in history. Cassette tape producers who were once really successful crashed unexpectedly as they never thought of expanding their business by being innovative. If you are not determined to grow from goodness to greatness, then you might be outdated at one point of time, it might be too late to revert.

Nescafé, a product that was born in 1938 has launched five hundred (500) aromas over the last eighty-four (84) years and they have constantly moved from good to great by being innovative in their product developments, ecological packaging and manufacturing lines in order to retain the aroma. A variety of ranges for different countries as well as many other additional developments have been made. However, we Sri Lankans, being one of the very few pioneers in growing coffee are still unable to develop a global brand of coffee. If we are to drive towards goodness and eventually elevate further towards greatness, we need to develop our thinking continuously.

At the point when greatness becomes goodness due to it being copied by someone else, we must be prepared to elevate the greatness we attained earlier to the next level of greatness with constant innovative developments. Never stop raising your bar a step forward as the world will always raise its bars. Train your children to drive towards their dreams and at the moment those dreams are achieved they must extend their dreams further to the next level so that they grow in their capacity.

If we are to make Sri Lanka a proud nation rather than scratching our back with the same old historical stories, the next generation must be strong and rich in their thinking. History is indeed very important, yet it is useless if your present is poor. It is just like an alcoholic proudly saying that he was keeping away from alcohol fifteen (15) years ago even though today he drinks alcohol every day from morning till night.

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