Have you ever found yourself saying, “I wish I were like such-and-such a person?”
When we were kids, it was almost impossible to go to a movie without wishing we were the hero or heroine. Well — one of the best things about that kind of entertainment is that we can, for a while, live in a vicarious way the dangerous, exciting, or romantic life of make-believe we see on the screen. But the chances are excellent that we’d be completely miserable if it were really possible to trade places with someone else.
One of the easiest mistakes for a person to make is to cover up his own abilities and potentialities by trying to be something he isn’t.
A person could spend a lifetime studying the writings of Hemingway — and never be able to write like Hemingway. The same would apply to acting, singing, or just about anything else. If the person trying to write like Hemingway would write like himself, he’d have a much better chance of succeeding. But, what’s even more important, he would develop himself as the individual he really is.
As Dr. Ernest Holmes wrote one time, “Deep within us… within you and me and all people… something was planted by Life… something that is trying to come forth into fruitage through human endeavor.” But it can’t very well come out if we’re trying to be something we’re not; if we’re conforming to a particular group because we think that’s the right or fashionable thing to do.
I often wonder, in seeing a morning train full of commuters, how many of them are really excited and interested in what they’re doing.
All too often they take on the appearance of a herd of cattle on its way to the slaughterhouse. They seem, by and large, to be playing a part — in a play they don’t understand, on a stage that is not necessarily of their own choosing. And finding no real peace or fulfillment in their work, they do their jobs in a perfunctory manner — getting it over with as quickly and easily as they can so that they can quit in the evening and lose themselves in some convenient “escape.” This isn’t living — this is existing; this is really nothing more than waiting for the whole thing to end. This is acting like something, or someone, we just are not.
Finding ourselves — the real selves we usually keep buried — is like prospecting for gold.
It isn’t necessarily easy, but we don’t mind the digging and the prospecting so much because we know the gold is really there. It isn’t like digging in barren ground, or where there just isn’t any gold — it’s there, maybe way down deep, but it is there in all of us.
And unless a person can find his own true self, he will never really know what it means to be fulfilled. To wake up in the morning eager for the day to begin and to end reluctantly a day which has been filled with interest, and challenge — and which has taken some of the best he had to give.