What The Romans Know About Greatness
I am a huge fan of Robin Sharma, he is such an amazing speaker and author. Every week he releases a podcast and video, as well as a transcript of his work. About two weeks ago, he spoke about what the Romans know about greatness and I had to share it with you. Here is the transcript below, I’ve also posted the video at the bottom on the blog post.
What The Romans Know About Greatness
This Mastery Session is all about 4 Life Lessons From Rome. I’m going to get personal here because a number of months ago, I went to one of my favorite cities on the planet, which is Rome. It was one of the single best trips I’ve had to Rome in terms of my creativity, in terms of my productivity, in terms of my learning about what’s most important in life, and in terms of just having a fun time in the moment. I wanted to share with you 4 reflections or 4 lessons that I learned from Rome that I truly hope will be valuable to you in terms of increasing your productivity exponentially, increasing your happiness terrifically, and improving the overall quality of your life, which is a nice segue into the first life lesson, quality wins.
1 – Quality Wins
Now just be with me on this idea because when you look at Italians, they’re all about quality. In my hotel room (I get the same room at the same hotel because it overlooks this courtyard, which is incredibly inspiring) there’s a coffee table book, and it was something about Italian quality. It talked about Ferrari, the Italian coffee-makers, the great chefs and the great Italian footwear. The point is simply this: As I went through the pages of this coffee table book, it really occurred to me that one of the things that makes Italy great is their devotion to world-class quality in a world where there’s such a dilution of quality.
The other day I was reading an article about this brand called Moncler. It’s become a fashion empire, but the back story behind the brand is that it used to be a French ski apparel company, so the owner Ruffini, who had just sold his other company and was looking for a great brand, a great company to buy for his next-level of game. Ruffini used to be a skier when he was a kid and I remember when I was 14, my mom and dad used to make me wear Moncler ski-jackets. He approached the companyMoncler, and he purchased the company. Then he brought his Italian aesthetic to the brand, shifting it from a pretty good ski manufacturer to this iconic fashion empire. If you see Moncler, their jackets, shoes, hats and handbags are very Italian now and it’s “street chic”, uber-cool. It’s really a badge of honor for a lot of people who love the brand.
What I’m really suggesting to you is the Italians have this ability to take brands and make them truly iconic. I started wearing K-Way jackets again, and every time I wear a K-Way jacket people say “Yeah, I had one of those when I was 5 years old.” What happened to K-Way? Again, purchased by an Italian who found a brand that was maybe in the doldrums, sort of stagnated, and they injected next-level quality, next-level style, and now if you walk around Europe, you see a lot of “cool” people [I’m not saying I’m so cool :)] who are into the urban chic, they’re rocking the K-Way. The first point I want to offer to you that I learned from a recent trip to Rome, the eternal city, is that Quality Wins. We live in a world where people are forgetting about the power of quality, whether it’s a coffee-maker, a car, whether it’s a jacket or a pair of shoes. When you’re producing anything and releasing it to the world, make sure it’s of the highest quality.
2 – Art Inspires
I remember running one morning and it was a sunny day in late December. It was just one of those unforgettable runs. Why? Because in one morning, I ran past the Colosseum, and then I went past the Trevi Fountain. Then I went over to the Pantheon, and literally, I went to these incredibly legendary sites, but I was inspired by the art of the architecture. I got so many ideas, and I was so energized. What I’m suggesting to you is if you are stuck, if you need more energy, if you want a creative burst, if you want to unchain your brain so you get your next level of ideation that you bring to your career to really rock your industry, spend more time in art. Take a trip to Rome. Go to Trevi Fountain. Go to the Pantheon. Run past the Colosseum. Go to the Vatican City and look up at Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Just being around the best of human possibility through their art will shift you from where you now are to where you want to be.
3 – Laughter Connects
I was walking through downtown Rome. It might have been Via del Corso. I found this little shop and it was just sort of like a little pop-up shop. I walked in and I met this young man. His name was Roberto. Roberto was from … I forget where he’s from. It might have been Tuscany, but what he would do is he would bring fresh cheese into this little shop and sell it every single morning. What I loved was he worked with great love. A lot of Italians, you talk to the great Italian chefs, I’ll say, “Why is this so good?” They say, “Because I cook with love.” One of the things I learned from Roberto is he just would bring this cheese, and I said, “You know, I’m not really hungry. I want to go for a workout.” He said, “No, you have to.” He was so hospitable, but on this third point about laughter connects, he made me laugh. He became my new best friend. I still connect with him now all the time.
He will say, “Oh, I’m just leaving the countryside and I’m bringing some fresh cheese to my store. When are you next coming to Rome?” That time where we connected at his shop and he made me laugh connected me to the importance of relationships. We live in a world where we’ve commoditized relationships, where a lot of us are so consumer driven and so busy chasing these shiny toys that society sells us on the measures of success that we have forgotten how to smile. We’ve forgotten the awesome miracle of 2 strangers in a cheese shop in Rome connecting as human beings. You know what I’ve realized? That’s true riches. That’s true luxury. Emerson said, “Without the rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.”
4 – Life is incredibly beautiful
There’s such a seduction with filling your life with all these things. I have never, just sharing very openly as I always want to do in these Mastery Sessions, I’ve never been so disinterested in things. I’ve never cared so little about fame and fortune. The irony is as I care less about getting known, my impact just soars. I’m so much more interested in producing my best work to help as many people as possible. I’m so much more interested at being fully present to sunsets. I’m so much more interested in giving my undivided attention to my loved ones because the greatest gift you can give your loved ones is the full nature of your presence. That shows you that you value them. That shows love. That’s what kids want. They don’t want more toys. They want you to be fully there. I guess what I’m saying on this final point is life is incredibly beautiful, and the greatest of pleasures are the simplest of pleasures. I mean, this founder of Moncler, he said, “You know, I love Italy so much.” He’s got a place on Lake Como.
He said, “I love spaghetti pomodoro. It’s the simplest of dishes.” He said, “You know, it’s just fresh pasta, basil, and olive oil, but to get the right – to use his word – to get the right calibration of those simplest ingredients so that you get the perfect spaghetti pomodoro takes mastery.”
Life is beautiful. Keep it simple. Enjoy the moment. Go take a trip to Rome with your family and your loved ones. Go check out the great pasta. Go for a nice walk or great run, and you’ll fall in love with that great city just as I have.
Here is the video on what the romans know about greatness:
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Love and light,