So, I was gonna comment about ESR's post--kinda tired of linking to it here--last night but I found something much cooler so I blogged about that instead.
So, how can one define "great people"? Personally, someone is "great" if he does good things in his life and is remembered by them after his death, and that's exactly what Gilgamesh came to conclude by the end of his trip; he traveled seeking immortality, but tried as he might, he couldn't do what Utnapishtim asked him to do to become immortal.
Look at him for example, he died thousands of years ago yet he's still remembered until today! Look at the prophets! Look at Albert Einestein! And the list goes on and on.
So ESR may have missed his chance of becoming a great physicist but he's still considered a great person, he's gonna be remembered after his death, every book about Linux and open source will mention him, he has a wikipedia page!
As for believing in your thoughts, well... Every kid is born like that: they believe what they think is right, but over the years, they get discouraged to do so by their parents and other adult people.
"But I can start my own company" "Earth is calling, get back to reality!"
"Fine, I'll work for a great company (Google, MS, etc)" "Yeah! Go tell them you can count from 1 to 10"
"Ugh! I'll come up with a new product" "A bidet? Already done" :|
Personally I believe that every person can be great if they really want that.
Maybe some people are more talented than others which gives them an advantage but that doesn't mean that others are completely hopeless.
I can talk about this all I want but will anyone care? After all, I'm just an 18 year old kid!