Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can speak about weakness, struggle and the pursuit of greatness at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.


Full Video Transcript:

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. So are you brilliant or are you just weird? In this video, we’re going to assume that you’re both. Today we’re going to talk about achieving greatness and what’s actually required to achieve greatness. Jim Collins, who’s an author who wrote the book Good to Great, had a great quote in his book. He said, “Good is the enemy of great.” Let me say it again, “Good is the enemy of great.”

And I’ll tell you why. Most people—let’s just assume it’s a ladder, and greatness is at the top and bad is down here. When you’re going up that ladder and you get to good, this is a good situation, guys. It’s good. Things are good. Maybe you’ve got your house, you’ve got your husband or your wife, maybe some kids. Things are good. Most people stop at good. Very few people try to push past good to great.

Now, what’s required to do that? Well, you have to have a little bit of fire. You have to have a little bit of struggle in you. You have to have maybe even a little bit of anger. Your weirdness, your struggle, the things that make you imperfect, that’s the fuel that will drive you past good to great.

People don’t understand. A lot of people will point to their weakness or point to their struggle or point to the area in their life where they feel like they’re a victim, and they’ll use it as an excuse not to take action. But the reality is that the people who achieve great, the people who push past good to get to great, they all have that. They all have that struggle. They all have that fire. They all have a little bit of that spice. I’m not going to say 100%. I’m sure there are exceptions. But the vast majority, if you look at these interviews when they’re interviewing someone who’s really successful, almost invariably they say—

Or rock stars. I remember when I was a kid and I used to watch these interviews of rock stars, and they’d say when they were in high school they had no friends, they were the loser, they were the outcast. Or now I’m older, so I’m watching interviews about business people who have been very successful, and it’s the same thing. Oh, when they were young, this happened, that happened. They struggled with this, they had to deal with that, unusual circumstances. They’re weird. They’re unusual.

Einstein – when Einstein was a kid, people said he was uneducatable. I don’t know if I’m saying that right, but they thought you couldn’t educate this kid. He was too weird. And he ended up being one of the greatest minds of all time. There isn’t one of these stories. There are thousands of these stories where people have something weird, something difficult, some sort of struggle, some sort of weakness, some sort of battle that left them with fire in the belly, and that determination to push past good into great.

The people who have it good—and this is the jealousy part. A lot of people have it good. A lot of people think that our world is full of people who are struggling. And there’s no question that a lot of people struggle, but if you look into the neighborhoods of people around you, a lot of people have it fairly good. It’s not perfect. They find things to complain about. But they’ve got a car, two cars, a family, a wife, a husband, a house. Things are pretty good, right? A lot of those people never had any serious struggle that they dealt with in their life.

Now, look, problems are relative. They think they had incredible struggles to work through. Just like I think I’ve had struggles, but meanwhile I don’t have struggles compared to someone who was born without arms and legs or physically disability or some sort of other mental disability or whatever. There are all sorts of struggles that are far more serious than anything I’ve ever experienced. Meanwhile, my self-perception is that I’ve had struggles. And I have had some struggles. And you’ve got the same thing. I’m sure you’ve got perceptions in your mind. You’ve got some struggles you’ve had to fight through.

But I’ll tell you what. It’s nothing compared to other people. Other people have had it much harder. But you look at people who stop at the good, and for the most part their problems, they never had that fire. They never had that anger perhaps, that angry motivation. I’m not justifying angry motivation, but I will tell you that it’s a lot more powerful than happy motivation, like “the world is wonderful, I just want to love everybody” motivation. That’s a great motivation to have, but it’s not nearly as powerful as “I’m going to prove those bastards wrong.”

You know what I’m talking about. “I’m going to prove those bastards wrong.” That’s a totally different level of motivation. And the people who push past good into great, almost all of them, had that. They had that struggle. They had that something, that unusual quality, that weirdness, whatever it was. You have to be weird to be great, in my opinion.

So the question becomes, do you want to push past good to great? Good is good. It’s good. You might just shoot for good. Sometimes I think when I get to just a really good, well-rounded good situation, I might just chill out and just start to enjoy life. I don’t know, because I still have things I want to achieve, so I’m not there yet.

But if you have that struggle, if you have that weirdness, if you have that victim side, that part of you that seems imperfect, not as good as others, don’t point to that as a reason for your failure. Use that as the fuel for your greatness. Don’t view it as a negative. View it as a positive because all the people who got up to that level, they almost all had it too. It might have been different than yours, but they had it too. So don’t limit yourself by your own psychology.

Thanks for watching this video, guys. This is Patrick once again reminding you to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.