- Thoughts for inspired living

November 8, 2007


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 10:28 am

I have a few bonsai trees. I’m not very adept at shaping them but I enjoy having them and tending to them. It got me to thinking about the notion of having to be “good” at something in order to enjoy the experience.

I wonder how many people suspend their enjoyment of a process because they don’t think they’re good enough. Another case in point: I am a lousy singer – always have been. This doesn’t keep me from belting out my favorite songs in the shower or when I’m putting something together in the kitchen, or walking Snuffy, the black-nosed beagle. I’ve had enough people request that I not sing to know I sound like a foghorn. I’m careful to not offend someone’s sensibilities with my balladeering but I don’t think the shower walls mind.

There is the other side of this situation where someone, who metaphorically has my singing skill set, continues to annoy or harm others by pretending to be something they aren’t. My parents had an expression they used when encountering someone like this. They called them a “shoemaker.” The best definition I could come up with for their term is someone with fake credentials.

My expression is “pretender.” Someone who purports to be someone they’re not. Often, one of the telltale signs is someone giving you their verbal resume a few minutes after you meet them. They usually turn out to be a pretender. Hyperbole is another warning sign.

I had a guy pitch me on some landscaping a few years back. He had installed a retaining wall on my driveway and suggested he do something with the surrounding weed infested ground. The area needed attention and I didn’t have the desire to do it myself. His exact comment was, “I’m gonna’ make this place look like a palace.” I should have paid attention to my gut but I didn’t. It was screaming that this guy was a horticultural hack. I didn’t listen. You had to hear the resume material exploding out of his mouth – “I was the talk of my class,” “I make it my business to satisfy my customers,” “there’s nobody like me in this area,” blah, blah, blah.

Weeks later, the ground where he put the grass seed down, looked like Sy Sperling‘s head before he bought the company. It eventually became overgrown with weeds. Did the guy ever return my phone calls? No, he was too busy plying his craft to other gullible homeowners.

Pretenders don’t usually get better at what they do. They’re too busy pretending to be something they aren’t. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying”

My guess is not too many pretenders read this blog. So, does this information just go to the choir members or is it just a rant? I think there is a bigger game here.

It’s discovering that we are not who we pretend to be. We pretend to be a bunch of labels that we made up, or someone made up for us, and we got comfortable with them – “Indian Chief,” “Candlestick Maker,” etc. When you confuse your role in life with who you really are – a divine expression – that’s when it’s hard to live up to the hype. Be gentle on yourself and start peeling away the labels and see what shows up. I think you’re in for a wonderful surprise.

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