What does "to be great is to be misunderstood" mean?

Answer

"To be great is to be misunderstood" means that anyone who has achieved greatness is likely to be so forward thinking in his field that many do not comprehend what he is doing and why. The person who is great goes against conformity in some way or another to set himself apart from the rest. This quote originates from Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay on "Self-Reliance."

The person who is deemed a great scientist is one who is on the cutting edge, making new discoveries and making claims heretofore not made. Those discoveries and claims are certain to be questioned, as is the scientist himself. The person who is a great benefactor is equally likely to be misunderstood. The motives of one who gives of himself freely are frequently scrutinized. Is he doing this good deed for attention? Why is he not giving something to this or that particular cause? Skepticism always arises in the face of behavior that departs from the norm. According to "Forbes" writer Mike Myatt, great leaders are often misunderstood until after they are gone. This fact is true of many former presidents. The very thing that makes someone great sets him apart from the common person and sometimes causes him to do things that make him less than popular at the time. It is only in retrospect that he is deemed "great."

Q&A Related to "What does "to be great is to be misunderstood"..."
when you are more wise people interpret your words incorrectly.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_To_be_great_is...
"To be great is to be misunderstood. This was a quote by Ralph Waldo
http://www.chacha.com/question/who-said-to-be-grea...
Because they are not good at communicating their ideas to others. It happens a lot, when a person has a very awesome idea, the idea is so great, that it's hard for them to pitch it
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=200910...
Overall Rating: User Rating 5 Star Rating star(s) A Great Way of Introducing an Often Misunderstood Disorder
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