The Burden of Greatness

I just read a report from “TMZ” (I know they are not the most credible source) on the cause of Prince’s emergency landing a couple of days ago. The report said it had nothing to do with the flu, but a drug overdose. When I read that, I was sorta thrown into thought, thinking of great folks who have shaped the culture, changed the way we hear music or see life, make our lives better then die tragically. Their last breath snatched alone.

I wonder what was going through their minds, after serving the world, giving us joy – as a matter of fact some of our parents “made us” listening to their music and/or dated using their creativity as entertainment. These people would mount the stage full and stagger off empty – leaving it all to the fans. What were they thinking when they took their last breath. I would almost like to think it was more of a sigh of relief then a gasp for life. robin-williams-cover-ftr

See greatness comes with a cost that most of us will never be able to fathom. It keeps you up at night, causing you to walk the floors of your mind. Greatness leaves you always looking to quench that thirst in you. You know that thirst? That thirst that after you’ve done the very best you can, you still feel like there was so much more you could do. So you are forever pushing, plowing, forcing yourself to the next level hoping that you’ll find that moment of satisfaction.

It’s a bit of a tough spot to be in, because all the while everybody around you is singing your praises, lauding your name, but most people don’t know that your greatness even puts a void between you and them. Greatness throws you ahead of your time, your best work won’t even be recognized like it should. Only people that think higher, live on another plain, can fully grasp the true magnitude of your art.

Whitney-Michael-AmyAnd the thing is, because you have collided with greatness you can’t fake it, you can’t dumb yourself down. You have to be real about your greatness, which causes you to have few friends and to be heavily misunderstood. To add to the problem, people start mistaking your greatness for you. Now people overlook you and only see your greatness, the human touch is few and far between even so now that you depend on your own greatness to feel “normal”.

To say the least, greatness is a burden that few will ever understand and fewer will ever stand under. 


So I can’t help but think of Micheal Jackson, Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Monroe, Vincent Van Gogh, Earnest Hemingway, Whitney Houston, and now Prince….did the burden of greatness drive him to a lifestyle that ended in death? Did they take a sigh of relief or a gasp for life? I’m willing to bet no matter how they died, knowing that they left the world better than they found it, knowing that it was time to pass the burden to the the next generation they took a sigh of relief and went on to eternity.

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