Thursday, January 26, 2012

Excerpts From Great Minds- What Does Goethe Mean?

"To have more, you must first be more."
- Johann Goethe

This is the second part of the Excerpts from Great Minds series. You can read that of Socrates here.

I love this quote from Goethe and I wonder what his source of inspiration was. When I first read it, a picture came to my mind: I saw a small tea cup asking for the same amount of content as that of a jug. How possible is that?
The important thing the tea cup didn't realize is that it was limited.

Are you a tea cup asking to be a jug?
One thing you need to realize here is that the tea cup was not limited by its mentality. It had the mentality of a jug but its physical boundaries didn't give it the capacity of a jug.

To be more, you have to break boundaries you have set.

Sometimes, we set personal boundaries even without us realizing it. This can be due to failure, embarrassment, heart break, disappointment and so on. It's just like vowing to never enter a relationship again because your previous partner cheated on you. Your actions, appearance, personality and character will automatically conform to fulfil this vow. No matter how hard you try to start another intimate relationship, it just won't work. If you don't give out the level of love that's expected of you, you can't receive a higher amount either.

To receive more, you have to give more.

If your goal is to become a rich investor, be ready to take the risks that the rich investors take. This way, you become more of an expert than a newbie and you get what you deserve, which is MORE.  
If your goal is to build a better family, then become MORE of a parent.
If your goal is to have more loyal employees, then become MORE of a loyal employer.
If your goal is to have more respect, then respect yourself and others MORE.
If your goal is to have better grades, then you have to be MORE of a reader.
If your goal is to have more kids, well... you know what you have to do.

In general, it's all about adding that little extra to you. If that tea cup really wants to be the jug, it'll have to be broken (if that's possible) and remoulded with that extra clay. Like the tea cup, if you're ready to be that future you, get ready to remould and add that extra quality, personality or character. Get ready to BE MORE!

What do you think it means to have more and to be more? I'd love to hear your views in the comments.


  1. Brilliant write up. I think the missing link in many peoples' ambitions is knowledge. We have lofty goals we want to attain but we hardly take out the time to gain the knowledge necessary to attain our goals.

    We can be all we want to be if we will only work at it.

    1. Hey Oluchi,
      Your comment is similar to my post: "Empower Your Vision With Skill". Many of us have visions but not all of us have the necessary skills to achieve them.
      Thanks for your comment.

  2. I throughly enjoyed reading this article. I would consider myself to be an optimist, and believe that anything can be done as long as you put your mind to it. It seems though that more and more people are pessimists, and hold themselves back without even giving themselves a chance simply by saying they can't do something. To me this is blasphemy. Great article, and I look forward to reading more.

    1. Hi there,
      Most of us tend to become pessimists because of influence from challenges and the environment. We limit ourselves with our words and this really limits how far we get to in life.

      As I said in my last post, " Be The First To Know That You Are Unique, having a mentor and adopting the right qualities like optimism will surely take you far. Thanks for your inspirational comment.

  3. Lanre, when I read this for the 2nd time (I actually had to read it twice because I love it), I thought to myself "Well, the tea cup can have same content as the jug". I decided to think deeper and I realized that it wasn't and still isn't possible if the tea cup doesn't assume the shape of the jug.

    You said it all. Most people (I'm not an exception) want a change. Yes they change their mental limitations, but, what about the physical? Everything - physical, spiritual, mental, material - needs an overhaul for that real change to come out.

    By the way, I don't know what I've to do if I want more kids. Seriously, are we supposed to guess and second-guess that? Because I know you intentionally skipped that. ;-)


    1. Hehehe! You caught me red-handed Chuks. Yes, you do have to guess that.

      Breaking mental boundaries is just not enough. Life is made up of various aspects- the spiritual, physical, emotional, etc. Until we break the related boundaries in the other areas, our goals will still be limited.

      Thanks for your awesome comment.

  4. Lanre, I loved this post and it is certainly a great reminder. I love the challenge of being more! Well done!

    1. Hi Sosha, I'm glad you found the post insightful. Thanks for your comment.

  5. It's a very inspirational post and very true. If you want more or be more you have to give more and do more to achieve it. But I would caution people to think about what they want and will getting it really make them happy or better people. We don't often think about the consequences of our ambitions and what effect it will have on the people and community around us.

    Hitler was probably inspired by this very same author to be more. He certainly achieved his ambitions beyond anyone's expectations by expanding his boundaries but at what cost?

    Many people want more just because everyone else does or that's what we've been told to believe and it's expected of us. but is it right for you and your community? Will it really make you a better person?

    1. You have a good point of view there JP, but don't get me wrong. I'm not telling you to always want more. That would be greed and I'll never encourage greed. I'm simply saying that if what you want to achieve is a much greater goal, it will require extra input from you.

      The message here is don't sit back and expect to achieve that higher goal without adding that little extra . Just like Hitler, in order to conquer more people, he had to be more of a tyrant. I'm not saying that's a good thing, but if you notice, Hitler had to put MORE in order to achieve his goal, even though it was selfish.
      Does it sound clearer now?
      Thanks for your awesome comment, JP.

    2. Thanks Lanre.
      You're right. If you want to achieve a great goal, you can't just wait for it to
      happen. It takes work.
      Thanks for your reply.

  6. Hi Lanre,

    I definitely agree with what JP along the lines that if we want more or want to be more then we have to do more to achieve it. Think bigger or outside our box. I always found that difficult since living inside my box is where I've always been.

    I finally had to start thinking like that teacup. I could see myself as the jug so what I had to do was start believing. With time it can all come true but I pray everyone uses it for the higher good. That's an ideal world right!

  7. Believe it or not Lanre, I am visiting your post via BlogZone. ...and I am glad to have stopped by! This is a great post; and, your statement of how one's limitations in life is set by one's limiting words was thought provoking. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


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