I’ve been using social media now for a few months. I hadn’t really engaged with it much prior. I just never had the need. But after writing my book, … And I Breathed, My Journey from a Life of Matter to a Life That Matters, everyone told me I had to be on social media, so I joined.
It’s been wonderful sharing my perspective with messages of joy and hope, getting feedback and becoming acquainted with some really great people. Social media really is a tool of connection. That’s the nice side …
On the other side I’ve also seen things that are mean and divisive — an undercurrent that tries to tear others down. We see it all around us — protesters screaming at child immigrants to go home, pundits on the various news channels screaming and hurling insults at each other and politicians who can’t agree on anything other than their hate for those who disagree with them. Closer to home, this aggression often appears in the comment sections following articles and posts on the Internet.
I started pondering this after I got a couple of messages in response to a posting on this site called “God Bless You,” about homelessness and lessons I had learned in my life about compassion. I posted it with a headline that said, “Jesus and the Buddha were both homeless, would you dismissively give them your spare change?”
I got some beautiful feedback on that posting, but I also got some not-so-beautiful messages. One was a cartoon showing a man going off a cliff while another man, presumably a Christian devotee, watched him go with a caption that said something about sinners going to hell. The second said something like, “Hey dipshit, Buddha wasn’t homeless, he was a prince, you’re a moron.” See what I mean?
Why do we do this to each other? Why would any of us take the time to tear another person down? What’s the point?
I remember once while I was working at Live Nation I went to an NBA All-Star game with my son. After the game, Jay-Z invited us to a dinner he was hosting. The dinner was very cool, lots of celebrities and athletes … one of those pinch-yourself moments where you remember being a little kid dreaming of being in a place like this.
My son, at age 10 still that little kid who dreamed of being there, stood in awe. Jay-Z must have noticed this. He walked up to my son and introduced him to Beyoncé and said, “Look, little man, I saw you looking at my woman, I don’t want to have any problems tonight!” That one beautiful act of humility broke the ice as the mega-star brought himself to the level of my son, and connected.
That’s not quite what you might expect from a rock star, right? If Jay-Z can do it, why can’t we?
I think the answer is our own insecurity and belief that we are small. Jay knows who he is, he knew my son looked up to him, and so he stepped down to meet him on common ground and then with kindness lifted him up. So often, we don’t realize our greatness, we assume the world is looking down on us so we lash out and try to take out the figurative knees of the world with a few mean words to bring them down to our level.
That’s what those messages on my site were. “Hey moron, you don’t know more than us, lemme tell you how right I am.” Right?
Let your rockstar heart shine. Meet the world where it’s at & share the greatness that lives in your heart.
I remember another beautiful rockstar moment, the first time I met Enrique Iglesias. He had just put out two albums that had rocketed to the top of the charts, he was on top of the world and about to start his first world tour, which my company was involved in promoting. I had no idea what to expect from him. After all, he was the son of another huge star, Julio Iglesias, and — like I said — he was riding high on hit after hit after hit. But what I saw him do that day at the arena after his sound check has stuck with me for nearly 20 years. He walked around the arena and shook everyone’s hand — every stagehand, every lighting person, every janitor and security guard, he didn’t leave until he had thanked everyone for helping make his dream come true, and in the process he made their dream a reality as well.
So once again, if Enrique can do it, why can’t we?
My teacher, Guru Singh, often tells the story of visiting a warehouse with his teacher, Yogi Bhajan. He says that Yogi Bhajan was fascinated with the forklift and its ability to reach down, pick something up and lift it as high as it could while maintaining its foundation of balance. That is who we are when we embrace our greatness with balance and confidence — we meet others where they are and gently lift them up.
This week I invite you to puff out your chest, to fill your head with thoughts of greatness, and to let your dreams go wild. Really give your ego a chance to run around without a leash. When you find that place inside where you really think you’re great — when you can look in the mirror and say, “Do you know who I am?” — take a few really deep breaths and let that feeling of greatness slowly move from your ego to your heart. Convert it from pride to purpose, from arrogance to confidence, and from righteousness to compassion. Breath by breath, let the feelings float down to your heart.
And then with your heart full of that feeling, step out into the world and behave with that sense of who you truly are. When someone at work disagrees with you, just smile, because you know it doesn’t really matter. When someone flips you off on the road, just whizz on by because you are too important to get caught up in such nonsense. When someone needs a hand, lend it; after all, life has blessed you with so much greatness you have plenty to share. Everywhere you go, let your rockstar heart shine and find a way to meet the world where they’re at, and share the greatness that lives in your heart.
Big hugs of love,