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Finding Greatness

Rayna has this belief that everyone has the chance to do great things, but many people miss it. As a writer, I find this a fascinating thought. And as a human being, a very attractive one. I don’t mean everyone has the chance to be Prime Minister or win an Olympic gold medal. Greatness can be totally hidden – someone is tempted to do a bad thing, but resists. Or it can appear minor, just the chance to do something kind. This might still change someone's life. Or, over time, such chances can stack up and do a lot of good: remember George Eliot’s description of Dorothea in middle age, who didn’t achieve the great things she dreamt of as a girl, “but the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts.”

In a world increasingly divided between haves and have-nots, this is a reminder of the essential equality of people. We can all do great things or fail to do them. Not being party political, I happily take two messages from this. One is Socialist – a fairer society would express this shared humanity better. The other is Conservative – your position in society offers no excuse for not finding your route to greatness. And as a writer – what a source of stories!

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