As the CD of my new song plays, my singing sounds more soulful than Marvin Gaye. My voice has more character than Bruce Springsteen’s. My harmonica wails sadder than Junior Wells’. And I write better songs than Joni Mitchell.
In truth, I sing more like Bob Dylan and my harmonica squawks like…Bob Dylan. (Why didn’t his harmonica playing improve through the years?) Unfortunately, the songs I write sound more like The Wiggles than Bob Dylan.
But my wife never lets on. To her, I have as much talent as Marvin, Bruce and Joni. And, sometimes, I believe her and I’m flooded with inspiration and pride. Sometimes, those CDs don’t sound awful.
And that is the magical power of treating someone not as who they are, but who they wish they were.
I write better columns when I think I have a shot at being Jimmy Breslin. And I am a better dad when my son smiles at me like there could never be a better dad on earth.
It brings to mind this Mahatma Gandhi quote: “Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.”
Imagine wanting to be the best cook around and here comes Joe who LOVES your
cooking. Wouldn’t you look forward to trying out recipes on Joe? I can only imagine how things would change if I just took a minute and made a mental note of each person in my life and how they like to be perceived.
Life might take on a warm and fuzzy glow everywhere I go. Even a trip to the dry cleaner might be enhanced if I managed to demonstrate how much I truly appreciate their ability to remove funky smells from my sports coat.
If done overtly, this approach comes across as syrupy, insincere lip service. But when it’s done out of respect, I can’t argue with the results.
My wife certainly has me singing!