I guess I tend to assume that we all aspire to greatness, if not in ourselves then at least with a few images. In a conversation with a friend last night, he stated that he doesn't aim for greatness, good would be just fine with him. He doesn't aspire to a masterpiece, an image which is interesting or illuminating or fun will be just great.
it makes you wonder just what we should be concentrating on - do you put all your effort into something which is rarely achieved (a truly great photograph, or at least one way better than all your others), knowing that you are working on something that not only is very unlikely to happen with any one photograph, in fact experience tells us that we rarely know at the time of the shutter release which images are going to be our best.
Mind you sometimes we know, I had written to Chuck to comment on his lovely new window and gauze photograph gracing his lead page of his site and he commented in return that he just knew it was going to be really good. Actually what he really said was he was so excited he was practically shaking and had difficulty getting the image recorded he was so excited. That sometimes happens but far more often we don't know ahead of time that an image is going to turn out far better than 99% of our work. You'd think a little bell would go off, in the camera if not in your head - but no.
The linke below will take you to his site, and at least for now to that particular image.
Anyway, my point is whether it's better to be looking for the truly great images or whether we'd actually be better served looking for the merely interesting and letting the laws of chance make some of those exceptional and the rest just what we were looking for.
My own style is to look for the interesting since I very definitely cannot predict the great shots, frequently not even recognizing them in the proofs, sometimes for months.
So, it's ok to aspire to be great, but to be on the lookout for the merely good, interesting, illuminating and or entertaining.
Whether someone who never aspired to greatness in the first place is any less likely to achieve it I don't know - I suspect there is a drive do do better, try harder which may separate those who are happy with good from those who desperately strive for greatness.
The other issue is whether it is very egotistical to even think that you might someday be one of the greats but if you think of how many of us wanted to be Ansel Adams 40 years ago and a teenager, well, most of us would be wearing tar and feathers if it were a big problem. It's one thing to strive for greatness, another to think you have arrived, especially with plenty of evidence to the contrary. Perhaps this is a discussion for another day.