"Dustin Hoffman is a great actor," I said. "But, it sounds as if he is great and you are not. You're an outstanding massage therapist and an awesome person. Maybe after his massage, he told a friend, 'Let me tell you about my brush with greatness...' "
We have all been taught greatness lives outside of us and we need to rub up against it, to become great. But magnificence resides within all of us, and we need but tap into it and bring it forth.
We give our power away when we bestow exalted attributes upon people we worship, at the expense of recognizing our own. Former child star Shirley Temple Black recounts, "I gave up believing in Santa Claus when I was six. When my mom took me to see him, he asked for my autograph." While we seek approval from the outside world, if we do not respect ourselves, the gifts bestowed by others fall on barren soil. We need to claim our own good. Then we can appreciate and celebrate others' magnificence side by side with our own.
People who habitually name-drop or flaunt photos of themselves with famous people do not appreciate their inherent worth. It's not who you know that counts; it's who you are. When you stand firmly and unapologetically in your own dignity, you attract powerful and worthy comrades. They are drawn to you magnetically, and your conversations are not about what you can get from them, but what you can co-create--they are simultaneously humble and powerful. They recognize the talent that flows through them is seeded from a Source far grander than their ego.
When a reporter asked twelve-year-old tennis sensation Jennifer Capriotti, "Do you intend to be the next Chris Evert?" she answered, "No, I intend to be the first Jennifer Capriotti." Ten-year-old art prodigy Alexandra Nashita, called "the next Picasso," affirmed, "The difference between me and others is that I am willing to do what I am good at." Mozart put it this way: "It is when I am completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer...that ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not, nor can I force them."
In high school I envied student body president Dick Brown, good-looking and popular, with a kind word for everyone, and a cheerleader girlfriend. I felt he was in the in-crowd. By contrast, I judged myself as dithering on the outskirts of coolness.
Years later I bumped into Dick. I confessed I envied him for being in the in-crowd. He told me, "That's weird. I always thought you were the in-crowd and I was out."
As we let go of seeking external validation, we recognize the only in-crowd worth penetrating is the one that lives inside us. There and only there will we find the artist's hand that brushes with greatness.
ALAN COHEN, author of best-selling The Dragon Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Relax into Wealth. For more info or to receive Alan's free daily inspirational quote and monthly newsletter, visit www.alancohen.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 1-800-568-3079.