Perception and Odd Realities

Published 27 May 2016

I received a phone call the other day that surprised me quite a bit. So my girlfriend teaches piano, and she’s very good at it. She directly influences the lives of her students in a very visible way, as most (good) teachers do. Sometimes, you influence the lives of others without being aware of it. It’s odd sometimes when someone you influenced tells you about it directly, or you hear it through the grape vine. That phone call was one of those odd times. I thought I was just a short blip in someone’s life.

I can think of 4 times this has happened, and each time it was just as big of a surprise. Who looks up to you? Whose life have you changed? Who have you given a fresh start? How have you helped someone overcome something? Who have you inspired?

That last question - “Who have you inspired” - came up because of an interview I heard on NPR while driving around last weekend. I couldn’t find out who it was, but a man was interviewing a female country music singer who had also done opera and lots of stage work - and the late Prince was brought up. She recounted a story about how Prince had invited her over for dinner. This was earlier in her career, and to her, Prince was a big deal! After dining, Prince said I have something I want to show you. He lead her to his theater, and played a video of one of her opera performances, and told her that this inspired him. She was embarrassed and didn’t want to watch it, but Prince insisted. She was just taken aback that someone like Prince - who she thought was way above her - would be inspired by her of all people! She said how important it is to tell people about how they inspire you.

It is encouraging to hear about your (good) influence on those around you, no matter how small a part you thought you played in someone’s life they might take something big from it. Don’t be afraid to share when someone has done that for you! Right now I am thinking of at least 2 people I have made a point to thank, but I can think of several more who deserve it.