If you’re here you’ve probably already read about our philosophy and call to action, the pursuit of True Glory. If you haven’t, you probably should now. Your Great Work will be the means by which you achieve the end of True Glory.
Your Great Work isn’t just “your passion” or “your calling.” It is what you were put in this world to do. It is how you will beautify the cosmos that created you. It’s how your name will attain immortal kleos.
It’s what you are.
It’s something that you’ll approach with laser focus. It’s something that nothing should stop you from doing.
Marcus Luttrell mentions in the above video that being a Navy SEAL isn’t just “what he did,” but “who he was.” Nothing would stop him from doing that.
The 19 other men on my list all had the same mentality. When the call to action came, they answered it with everything they had.
Being Rome’s leader wasn’t just what Caesar did, it was who he was.
Frederick Douglass was not a slave in his soul, and nothing would stop him from meeting his true self in freedom.
The Duke of Marlborough was not just an army officer, he was a great general in his core.
No setbacks would be allowed to stand. They would commit themselves for a lifetime to their works, even if they didn’t succeed, because that was who they truly were.
As for me, I was put on this earth to be a great bard and shaper of discourse. My contribution to the beauty of the cosmos, if I make one at all, will be in literature and philosophy. People have remarked on my talent for storytelling since I was in preschool. If I don’t wind up achieving True Glory this way, I probably won’t any other way, because that’s who I am.
Am I giving something up in this pursuit? Yeah. But that is opportunity cost.
I know a wonderful woman who, despite some chronic health issues, is committed in every way to doing the best for herself and achieving her True Glory through art (which she is spectacular at) and writing. She’s an example to me, who’s chief problem in life has been laziness. With her conditions, she could easily adopt a “fuck the world” mentality and become a fat loser or a social justice warrior. But she doesn’t. She does it because it’s who she is, and nothing can mask that.
So, what is your Great Work? It’s a highly individual question, and only one that you will be able to answer, but here are some things you should be looking out for:
1. Potential for kleos:
The first thing to keep in mind is that your work should be able to be scaled to the point that it will allow your name to potentially live forever. It must therefore be created with great passion and care, and display great beauty. Remember that kleos is “what others hear about you.” Your work must be something that can be turned into something that is worth hearing about. My epic novel, at over 1,200 pages and which covers subject matters and themes that are both universal and particularly relevant today, is the foremost manifestation of my efforts in my Great Work.
2. Keep true to your natural talents:
The second thing to keep in mind is to pursue something in line with your natural talents. I want you to think about them very carefully. While you should already have an idea, if you sign up for my email list, you will firstly receive a worksheet that will greatly help you along, especially if you are very young, in recognizing your natural talents, how to view them, and how you can scale them into something worthy of your Great Work. The answers might appear obvious, but they can often be hidden in plain sight. In my own case, I knew, and others had told me, that I was a talented writer and creative mind since I was a little kid, but I never quite realized that my surest way of being able to live life on my own terms and achieve True Glory is through my writing until some years into my 20’s.
I began writing my novel in 2008, but always treated it more as a fun side project than the foremost part of my Great Work until late 2013. Consequently, I plodded along whenever and didn’t get serious until then. I don’t want you to make that same mistake!
3. Creativity is not enough:
The third and most important thing you must realize is that you’re not just a writer, an artist, or whatever appropriate word in your Great Work. You are also a marketer and a self-promoter.
This particular point is crucial, because it often gets lost on creative types (which I suspect many of you are). These types tend to be hugely enthusiastic about the creative process but completely shut down on the clerical work that goes with it. They think it’s possible to just put things out there and be successful. It doesn’t work that way (believe me). At most, you might think you can hire someone to do these things for you. However, this is often expensive, they may not take you, and they simply won’t care about your work as much as you will. You need to mentally approach marketing.
Even the ancients understood this need. Once more, kleos is “what others hear about you.” You have to be a marketer for others to hear about you.
In fact, one could well argue that the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon was at root, a question of marketing. He who could position himself as the rightful claimant of Briseis would also be able to market himself as the greater man, the more deserving of glory. This theme is seen more clearly in the embassy to Achilles in Book 9 of the Iliad.
Odysseus, too, was a self-promoter. At the court of King Alcinous, ruler of the Phaecians, he says:
I will tell you my name first, so that you, too, will know who I am, and when I escape the day of doom, I will always be your friend and host, though my home is far. I am Odysseus, great Laertes’ son, known for my cunning throughout the world, and my fame reaches even to heaven. (9.17-23)
And his need to market himself to the cyclops Polyphemus, finding it intolerable that the world should know that “Noman” blinded him, got Odysseus in trouble with Poseidon and thus doomed him to defeat for many years.
The ancients knew that the need for marketing was essential to a hero, no matter the outcome.
So it is with you. You must ask yourself if your work can be marketed before undertaking it, and then fastidiously research how to do so. Fortunately, there’s a great site with plenty of free material to help you along: Copyblogger.
At Copyblogger, you’ll get many free guides that will put you a great deal ahead of most people, who don’t have the first clue about building an audience.
Next up, familiarize yourself with SEO and keyword research. Now, don’t think this consists of putting out keyword-stuffed crap (which Google and others have long penalized anyway). The key concept, which you will learn at Copyblogger, is that your work must be seen by others as valuable (in the form of being linked to and shared on social media) to rank well, which returns to the points described above – your work must be of great beauty, beautiful enough for others to want to talk about you. Keyword research is mostly about finding the desires of your audience so you can position yourself accordingly. Here are some free tools you can use that, while not the absolute best, will get you started.
I hope that this article was motivational as well as helpful. I really had to learn the hard way that the only way to be prosperous, let alone immortal, was to put out a truly great work through hard effort. I was always a big dreamer and still am, but year after year, nothing happened. Perhaps I, like so many of my peers, thought I was entitled to success. So I languished, year after year, floating by and not pursuing my potential, even though I fantasized constantly. It was only when I was in my mid-20’s that I started getting my act together.
Don’t be like I was. The younger you start your path to True Glory through your Great Work, the better, and as the lives of so many great men teach us, it is never too late. The work will also give you an internal sense of confidence and self-worth that will bleed over into every other important area of life, whether that be your “real job,” your relations with women, or anything else. It will make you more interesting, more worthy of being heard about, all on its own.
Your Great Work will always be daunting and never easy, but you will still enjoy it and be passionate enough about it that it will always be more fulfilling than a “real job,” the path they want you to take, which will never make you immortal. If you’re confused about your Great Work and where to start, once more, you can sign up for my list and receive my guide to help you along for free.
I may yet fail to attain True Glory, but we all help each other here. If I help even one of you, I’ll have succeeded, as I’ll now be immortal through you.