Old Meeting House Congregational Church (1643)

The Best Hidden Church in Norwich

Be Genuine. Spread your influence


Suppose that your character is less attractive than you’d like. You can either continue a charade and be a hypocrite; or you can decide to “be true to yourself.”

Zig Ziglar coined the saying: “You’ve got to fake it before you make it.” In other words, “Do what the hypocrite does; but don’t stop where the hypocrite stops.” The hypocrite, you see, is quite justified in adopting a mask of respectability. His fault lies in not striving to make it real.

Personal influence radiates from the real person; whereas an unreal persona exercises personal manipulation. That’s the difference.

Personality-disguises are, by definition, unauthentic, disingenuous, and self-defeating. Even the best public orator will be unconvincing if he does not believe his own message. Yet a lightweight or unskilled speaker can have an audience hanging on his every word, as long as his meaning carries weight.

Now imagine a conference where a world-class actor is hired to inspire the delegates with reading the 23rd Psalm. Every word, syllable, intonation, and sibilance is rehearsed, and his delivery is flawless.

Now imagine the reader is an 80-year-old poorly educated woman, who is small and frail. When she starts speaking, her untrained voice quakes. She struggles with longer phrases, pausing to breathe in strange places and squinting in the lights.

Which speaker would move the audience most? Well, we might say it depends on who’s in the audience, and what their expectations and motivations are. But, to listeners with an ear for authenticity, the actor delivering flawless lines can sound too pristine, whereas the old lady’s voice, might resonate like a vintage recording: a soul expressing the spirit of the composer!

Now, it can be difficult to see soul-deep authenticity. The technical perfectionist may be admired, but the sound of the authentic soul will please the listener’s ear longest. Words that come straight from your heart of hearts speak straight to the hearts of others.

So it’s useless to preach unless you are the sermon. Eventually you must live your meaning.

If you hope to have good influence on others, you have to formulate yourself into an appealing character.


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