It is the height of madness to try to be someone else yet when we idolise someone else that is, to an extent, what we are doing. By idolising someone else, we deny who we are and diminish ourselves. We try to be the other person instead. We think to ourselves, if only I was that person, if I looked that way, if I could speak that way, if I could think that way…then I would be a worthwhile person.
Here’s the irony though: you can never be that person and they can never be you, but you can be a version of yourself that will be so amazing you dazzle whomever you come into contact with. In order to do that, however, you have to let go of who those other people are and the comparisons you make between yourself and them and find amazing things inside yourself.
Here’s the nice part: when you see someone who does something amazingly well – a great pianist, a sportsperson, someone who’s particularly kind or compassionate, someone who’s a genius in mathematics or language or something else – when you see that ability in others, you’re recognising something familiar to you. You are recognising your own potential—the potential that lives inside you! Let me re-emphasize that: remember, what’s inside of you is always reflected on the outside, but what’s outside of you can only be perceived if you have it inside of you already. If you don’t know what something is, you can’t even notice it. For example, a master pianist can hear notes that most of us cannot hear. He can play those notes because he does hear them. So, when he hears someone else playing the piano and goes wow, that person is playing a great piece!, it is only because he has the capacity inside him to do it, too.
Let’s say that you and I listened to the same piece being played by two different people—by a student and a master musician. Perhaps we’d think they’re identical, but a true master would hear them and say to us no, no, no, they are not the same! This one is true genius. This one is merely decent. That’s because he recognises something in one piece that’s missing from the other, and he can recognise it because the potential exists inside him to play like the master. He resonating with the master musician and recognising what makes him a master and his performance of the piece more masterful than the student’s.
Granted, our masterful listener may not be able to play it straightaway. He may have to access that potential first, but the potential exists inside him. The good news for you is that if you admire someone, if you idolise someone, if you’re trying to live up to someone else’s role, that’s a good thing to the extent that you realise it has nothing to do with them. That potential that you recognise in someone else is already inside you or you won’t recognise it in the first place. You resonate with what you see in another because inside you is that same potential that is wailing to be awakened. Around about now some of you might be thinking, hang on a second, that can’t be true. What if a short person admires a tall person for their height? Or what about the couch potato that admires a sports star? The couch potato has no hope of ever being able toshoot as many hoops or to play the football game in the same way. Likewise, a short person has very little chance of ever being that tall.
I’ll say to some extent you’re right. If you look at it just at the superficial level, which is that you admire height or you admire the fact that he can score hoops, you’d be correct. But have you ever noticed that people don’t just fall in love with sports stars and they don’t just admire tall people. Did you ever notice that people who aren’t sport stars and aren’t tall are happy, successful, charismatic, charming, serene and accomplished? Of course you have.
There’s a quality about that, which you admire. Here’s what I mean. People can admire sports stars even though they may not be the number one sports star in the world. Everyone has a favorite golfing champion, even though sometimes that person gets beaten, and that’s okay. You have your favorite team that sometimes gets beaten or even if it’s an invincible team, they still lose points.
They still make mistakes. So how can you continue to admire them despite their mistakes? It’s because what you really admire is not the fact that they can throw hoops, but it’s not how big and strong they are. What you really admire is a quality that seems to be attached to their accomplishments of throwing hoops.
Height might remind you of how noble a person looks. That person may not even be noble, but just might look the part. In that case it’s an illusion. You perceive a noble person that isn’t really there. If it’s a person’s figure or shape you admire then you might perceive them as sexually appealing. In that case it’s a sexual charisma that you admire, not the body shape.
Consider this: I have met people who look like a million dollars. You have, too. You may have seen aphotograph of them and said, Wow, that’s amazing, but once you spend time with some people who look amazing, you see something different. Some people who look like a million bucks are weird or strange orboring or abusive. You can’t wait to get away from them. Their looks just aren’t the attraction any more.
What we admire in other people, what we think we admire may be a physical characteristic, but is actually something else. For example, for the sports star we admire it is really the skill and the energy they play with, the enthusiasm, the wildness or the passion they have.
If we admire a model or a movie star, it might be the sophistication, the wittiness, the allure, the sexual charm. Whilst I may never be able to throw a basket like those professionals or never have that perfect shape because my genetics won’t let me look that way, I still have inside me the ability to have the essence of whatever those others have.
I can have passion. I can move with as much energy. I can have the sexual charisma. I can have that sense of inner beauty that shines through so much that people just want to be with me. I know this because I see it in others and I admire it. The question is: have I activated it? Not necessarily. Some of that potential, in fact maybe most of it, is still untapped, but the point is I know it’s there and now I can go looking for it in the place where I need to look for it: inside me.
It will look like this: Comparing Yourself To Other People