What is it that makes someone great at something? I often think about successful, charismatic people and wonder what they have that makes this fact a reality for them. Celebrities, in particular. They are so idolized by others, and yet, they are mere humans like anyone else. So, what is it really, that they have that others don’t? Where does that success and charisma come from? (Disclaimer: not talking about people like the Kardashians and Paris Hilton who are only famous because of their parents or the fact that they come from money). One actor, who I have always particularly enjoyed and found to be quite good at his craft, is Anthony Hopkins. The following quote has been credited to him and it has always struck a chord with me.
“My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.”
This quote has helped me to gain insight into where charisma and success come from. What do these people have, really? The answer is fairly simple…themselves. We all come here to do one thing and that is to be the fullest expression of ourselves as is possible. But, do we do that? No, instead of loving ourselves and embracing ourselves in entirety, we compare ourselves, judge ourselves, and try to be like other people, like everybody else. We do things that we think will gain approval from others and make them like us, rather than doing things only to please ourselves. Often times we think we’re doing something for ourselves, such as dyeing one’s hair or getting a new tattoo, but in reality it was done in an attempt to project an image that we think others will praise, or at least we hope they will. There is an expectation there. When it is not met as we had imagined, we feel less than. Validation needs to come from outside oneself.
That is not how it is for the aforementioned successful people. These people don’t need the approval of others, and so they are free to be who they truly are. And because they don’t need the approval of others, they get it. You see, when you give yourself something, you get more and more of whatever that something is, it’s how the Universe seems to operate. If you love yourself, you give love to others and you gain love in return. We are most fully alive when we are operating from a genuine place. Being yourself without trying to alter that self to conform or please others is a form of self love.
There is also something to be said for living without expectation and with full acceptance of the current reality in front of you. When you do not expect something from life or from others, you can’t not be disappointed or let down and you are without judgment. Say, I was expecting my husband to notice the fact that I took the time to do my hair a certain way and dress nice and put on makeup etc. Perhaps he does notice, and yet he doesn’t say anything or let on to that fact. Well, then I am disappointed and although I felt great about myself before, now I let the thoughts in my own head turn it around. He didn’t meet my expectations and I was relying on him to make me feel good about myself instead of just feeling good for my own sake. I now feel bad about myself instead of good, but taking it another step further, I also feel bad about him. I think thoughts like “he’s not a good husband, he isn’t attentive” etc., because he didn’t live up to my expectations. In other words, I am judging him.
When you accept what is, it no longer has any power over you. When you do not accept, it is like trying to steer a kayak against the current, you fight with it and struggle and you miss out on the beauty of the water, the scenery around you and the wholeness of the present moment. There may be things you want to change about your life, and that’s okay, but the key is to accept what is right now and be grateful, while also working towards what you want. Fighting your reality doesn’t change it, it just makes it harder to create the reality you really want. Instead of fighting, put the energy into you and just be. Be you. Be who you really are. When you are yourself, the reality that corresponds to that person will present itself. It will be exactly what you want and need because it will be a reflection of your true self. You will be living your life, for you and no one else. Doesn’t that sound so much easier?