I noticed a Facebook status today that said “be a first-rate you rather than a second rate somebody else.” The quote made me smile, and I discovered that the 17-year old who posted this status had no idea that Dale Carnegie offered the same sage advice many years ago.
In his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Mr. Carnegie shares this story about Irving Berlin and George Gershwin: “When Berlin and Gershwin first met, Berlin was famous, but Gershwin was a struggling young composer, working for thirty-five dollars a week in Tin Pan Alley. Berlin, impressed with Gershwin’s ability, offered Gershwin a job as his musical secretary at almost three times the salary he was then getting. ‘But don’t take the job,’ Berlin advised. ‘If you do, you may develop into a second-rate Berlin. But if you insist on being yourself, someday you’ll become a first-rate Gershwin.’ Gershwin heeded that advice and transformed himself into one of the significant composers of his generation.”
Don’t imitate others – be yourself! This principle is the underlying theme of Chapter 5, entitled: Find Yourself and Be Yourself: Remember there is No One Else on Earth like You. Countless examples, including Berlin & Gershwin are provided to remind us how important it is to stay true to ourselves. Common sense yes, common practice…not always.
Consider these inspiring words, straight from Mr. Carnegie: “You are something new in this world, be glad of it. Make the most of what nature gave you. In the last analysis, all art is autobiographical. You can sing only what you are. You can print only what you are. You must be what your experiences, your environment, and your heredity have made you. For better or worse, you must cultivate your own little garden. For better or for worse, you must play your own little instrument in the orchestra of life.” Children can do it – why not you?
The Dale Carnegie Course in Effective Communications and Human Relations delves deeply into this topic, and leads participants on a 12-week journey of self-discovery. Fall classes are forming now in the Woodbridge, Mt. Laurel, Princeton, West Deptford, and Egg Harbor areas; find out more here.
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.