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What’s the Greatest Thing You Could Ever Do?

Posted on September 17th, 2008 by Will Marre.
Categories: ADP Diary, Community, CSR, Leadership.

Printer-Friendly:  Greatest Thing You Can Do – Will Marre

“So what’s up with you?”  That’s the little vocal bullet Aaron shot at me over breakfast at the 101 Diner.  I was meeting with him and John about the message of my new corporate responsibility website.  Aaron is a marital arts expert with like a 150-degree black belt in some form of Asian violent-tranquility loosely translated as “Green Willow.”  Well Green Willow man started pelting me with jabs about the tone of my recent political blogs.  “Dude, your anger is showing.”  Aaron continued, “Are you sure this is what you want to be known for?  Being Mr. Angry Man?”

“Well,” I shot back, “I am not thinking of what my brand is. I am frustrated about what’s going on with our political debate, so I am just being authentic.”

Then John, the other Green Willow warrior and an expert in consumer opinion research said, “If you had a one sentence message, what would it be?”

Without hesitation I pulled out a stack of notes from a file I had.  I just finished reading a book called Inside Steve’s Mind about Steve Jobs’ amazing turnaround of Apple.  I turned to my last note that captured Jobs’ mantra.  It read, “Imagine the greatest thing you could ever do and do it!”  I said, “That’s it for me.  That’s what I want to encourage everyone to do.”

So John responded, “So make that your signature.  No matter how frustrated or inspired you might be at what’s happening, end your blog or speech or whatever with a suggestion from that greatest thing viewpoint.”  I’ve thought a lot about the advice from the Green Willow brothers in the past 24 hours, and I say I must agree.

A few days ago I was in Phoenix facilitating a strategy meeting for 75 leaders and board members of a non-profit called Fresh Start (  For nearly a decade they’ve been helping women who find themselves desperate, often battered, and stuck.  Through education, mentoring and some focused social service they literally help women who have the gumption to try to climb up to self-reliance and growth.  Now they are ready to take what they’ve learned to a new level by expanding in several directions.  The people in that room were fiercely dedicated, very bright ordinary citizens doing the best thing they can imagine doing.  And it’s working.  Big time.  That’s what’s best about America.  About all of us.

Well I am all jacked up about the goodness of my fellow citizens when I get clobbered with reality.

One of the ladies I met at lunch is a psychologist in her late 50’s, a grandmother who until a year ago made her living lecturing all over the country.  She told us her job had to change, however, because somehow her name got on the terrorist watch list.  It used to take her an additional four hours at the airport to be invasively screened.  Now she said the airlines tell her to not even bother trying to fly!   This woman is as close to being a terrorist as the Easter Bunny.  But one million Americans are on the list.  She told me she has tried every way possible to be thoroughly investigated so she could get off the list.  Being from Arizona, she tried Senator McCain, her congressman, and even directly appealed to President Bush.  Nothing.  There was no trial, no review, no recourse.  Her basic civil liberties to travel were ripped away from her and she has no recourse.  So here I am in this very inspiring setting with these very inspiring people and I am angry, again.  Damn.  So let me just say my peace and then mention something positive.

Your response to my recent posts have inspired me.  If most Americans are being as thoughtful as you are in choosing who to vote for we have a lot to be encouraged about.  Thank you for your comments and ideas and the reasonableness of your arguments.  It seems to me that whom we elect does matter.

It matters because of the things that happened to my new psychologist friend.  Our leaders do create an agenda of our society that either makes it more fair and opportunity driven or more unfair and fear driven.

At the same time what matters most is how we live our individual lives.  These volunteer leaders will continue to help elevate the lives of women no matter who’s elected.  Likewise, our lives matter when we make them matter.  So I agree with the Green Willow men.

No matter what, in all and every circumstance, imagine the greatest thing you could ever do and do it.  That’s how the world will change.

So that’s what I am going to try to do.  I’ll tell you more about it next week.  In the meantime, what do you think about all this?  Am I too angry?  Is doing our best thing all we can really do?  What are the best things you’re doing or want to do?


Comment on September 18th, 2008.

vis “Dude, your anger is showing.”
part of the reason we are collectively in this mess is because not enough dudes let their anger show.

As usual, good writing.

Comment on September 18th, 2008.

I feel it’s more frustration than anger. You seek to present the truth in the face of a propaganda machine that abhors it. This is no easy task, but greatly appreciated. I will continue to raise my children and try to instill in them real values and the ability to perceive the main stream media for what it is (evil).
Thank you for commitment to the truth, and your obvious compassion for others. I’ll bet your a great mentor and friend…the kind I will seek to be to others. This is the greatest thing I can do everyday.
So…who are YOU voting for? :-)

Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Comment on September 18th, 2008.

First I’d like to comment on expressing anger. When did we become so ignorant that we cannont distinguish between “righteous indignation” and someone spewing venon and ire? There is a difference and I believe it goes back to a “compromised” morale spirit. If one is compromised then one cannot speak with integrity and truth from the heart. Speaking from the heart whether it is with love or anger is very necessary for real communication and real understanding. When my neighbor speaks with anger but, it is a “controlled anger” and he makes a point, then I can listen to his pain and maybe even help him. But, when my neighbor is just being venomous and bitter and his message is not clear then I will turn away. I turn away because, bitterness is a downward spiral with no solution. We must acknowledge our anger but, express it eloquently or others will turn away. But, to never express anger that comes from a place in our heart of true anguish and distress is unhealthy for an individual and unhealthy for our democracy. Too, many have been silent for too, long. I have been asking for the last 24 years, where is the “righteous indignation” and why can’t it be expressed and used to awaken and move more citizens? We have lost the ability to give voice to our deepest yearnings and hopes and concerns and it is a great loss. Now we are in a position of needing incredible “great leadership” with great souls that can express vision with great oratory abilities. We are a big country …how can we ever really be united in spirit without Great spirits leading? Maybe grassroots leadership will manifest itself maybe not…

As for what’s the greatest thing I can imagine or dream? All I have ever wanted is continued opportunities to strive everyday to be the best I can be. What I can be evolves and changes as I grow older but, one thing is for sure ….I was always able to get in front of “decision makers” and speak to the points I needed to make to advance my own daily business interests and support myself and it is now no longer that way. Now days there is a wall as I have read commented on at this site and I believe this wall between the average American trying to do business in their community for those with power is an incredibly high wall and almost insurrmountable. So, it FEELS like no matter how I try I will be stopped by a “gatekeeper” as also, commented on at this site. Therefore imagining the greatest I could ever do feels like an empty exercise in “pretend dreaming”. There are forces at work and people in control that are very “undemocratic” and very unAmerican at their core. They do only what immediately benefits them and this control is wide and powerful. With the power of the PACs in Washington it may even be impossible for a little guy to survive at all in a few more years. In general, in business, people seem afraid to make decisions or if not afraid it does’nt matter because, they have no power. There are very few “mid-management level business people” for me to parlay my services to and even if I can get in front of some business person with decision making power then I find them very “non-commital”. Also, the competition for the “ear” time with even minor decision makers is so competitive that when I finally get in front of a decision maker with power I have to compress complex knowledge into miliseconds of “instant understanding”. It can be frightening! So, atlas the urge to encouage the little guy to dream the biggest thing or best thing they can seems like a formula for frustration. I am in the middle of my life and my sense of hope that there is opportunity for the person who will work very hard is very, very fragile. I seem to run into mostly walls and even if I find “like minded” business people who feel as I do then the leads and opportunities for business seem very thin and emphemeral. I’m afraid Mr. Marre that as big as your heart is and as free as your ability to dream is that the facts remain that there is shrinking opportunity HOURLY for the average American to do business in their immediate town and usually no funds to do business on a “worldwide scale”. In locale versus worldwide opportunity, locale is loosing and becoming non-existent it seems. I had a dream of being a self-sustaining small business person a long time ago and now I’m fighting to meet my monthly bills and I don’t even own a home! I don’t think I’m the only one with this daily experience. I suspect there are a lot of us. We don’t have answers but, we know something is very wrong because, our opportunities (or lack of them) feels very different from our parents and grandparents times.

Comment on September 18th, 2008.


No, you are definitely not too angry. Many times anger is confused with passion and dedication to a feeling or thought. I believe I share your disappointment in the current political environment, many people do. Am I angry about it? Well, yes a little bit I guess. But more so I am disgusted that this represents the best we can do! Or is it? Can we all apply this mantra of imagining the greatest thing we could ever do, then actually going forward and doing it? If it is possible to take this idea and implement it across our entire nation ala the “pay it forward” approach we would see a substantial positive impact. That impact would be felt personally by each person that partakes and collectively by everyone in our society; we would live in a better nation.

When I think more about this, how different is this really than the vision of the American Dream Project? I think American Dream Project is nothing more than imagining and identifying the greatest thing we can ever do with our life and doing it. How far off am I on this? Will, I think you were already on this track long ago. Now you just have another way to look at it.

Comment on September 18th, 2008.

Many people realize that outsourcing most of our manufacturing was not a good idea, but don’t know what to do about it. If China pulls the plug, we are sitting high and dry.It’s pretty frightening, but you don’t read about it in the newspapers. *Cough* *cough*.

I think this situation is actually an opportunity in disguise. It allows us to revamp our manufacturing infrastructure and directly leapfrog to the new generation of computerized CNC and prototyping technologies. While these aren’t quite ready for primetime yet, due to expense, size limitations, and materials issues, they are already being used for limited production runs of new products.

Imagine the PC revolution taking place in the space of manufacturing, where every block has a garage manufacturing hobbyist. That could jumpstart all sorts of citizen enterprise businesses to provide new manufacturing capability. Sure, they won’t be making steal beams and cruise ships, but just think of all the money going overseas for consumer goods, etc.

Scott Tuton - Seattle, Wa
Comment on September 18th, 2008.

I think its time for an “American Dream Project” Conference. I want to meet these people and attend seminars and network and focus our collective brilliance. I guess I’m feeling like individuals doing the greatest thing they can imagine is an amazing start. A collective of people doing the same, is a revolution.

By the way, will replying to your blog associate me with terrorists? Oh well, I hate flying anyway 😉

Comment on September 18th, 2008.

typo correction: steel beams :)

Comment on September 18th, 2008.

The Devil’s most powerful tool is the wedge of discouragment. I’m in the middle of it. My apartment was sold and now the new owners want to raise my rent $550!
this is more than a 50% increase. BUT I remember and experience Angels in my life, people who show up to be of service. I feel Will is one of those. He is calling us to our higher selves. It is only there, connected to spirit that we will be able to take our power and do good with it. Sometimes the greatest thing we can do, is just get up out of bed and do what is needed for ourselves and for our planet. Not to give up. In spite of whatever obstacles we face. We are either thriving or succumbing. Choose to thrive. It is our choices and the consequences of those choices that shapes our lives. I regret all the times I’ve made choices out of fear, instead of belief in myself, and my ability to create.
There is power in community, don’t be alone. Find your people and help each other. We ALL need each other.
Especially in hard times. At least on man I know is
trying to make a difference and that that gives me much hope because if there is one there will be more.
And I strongly suspect you are one of those also, or you wouldn’t have cared to read this blog.

Ken Brown
Menlo Park, CA

Marcia Ribeiro
Comment on September 18th, 2008.

Will, I’m sorry I just read the last blog now…
I have to agree with you that anger is an understatement of what we are at as a country.
McCain brings no change and I’m afraid the changes Obama might bring. Who sponsored his Harvard’s education? Where’s his Birth Certificate? Is this guy bringing Islam.
I can’t help thinking of Hitler, how charmy he was before election…
Remember, the terrorists promised never to come in the same way?
I’m not saying it from a place of fear. I’m not afraid.
I’m just considering how far are we really from the return of Yeshua?

Jeanine Just
Comment on September 18th, 2008.

Dear Will,

I feel people need to be informed and so 2 years ago I launched the REVELATION REVOLUTION. People have been asleep, living in the 5-sense 3D programmed reality. But each of us is a multi-dimensional being with innate abilities that are infinite. I feel it’s important now to get as many people as possible to wake-up, become aware of current reality and then take personal responsibility to create an integrous life by not focusing on and energizing WHAT-IS but rather vigilantly monitoring every thought and feeling only towards the vision of what they choose to experience. I love what Wille has to say. He’s a wake-up call and a prophet sharing his “voice of reason.”

Comment on September 19th, 2008.

Hello Will,
Your site has truly been an inspiration for me. I am spreading your ideas as best I can to anyone that will listen!! I am a bit bored with my job and I have been trying to get unstuck by considering your advice. I began searching for a volunteer opportunity and have found a great one which I can start in October. I will start small and who knows where I may go from here..

Comment on October 4th, 2009.

Interesting article! My comment would only be that , by thinking the way articles tells, I’ve been doing them for about seven months, and they’ve absolutely changed my life.

Comment on October 5th, 2009.

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