HeartNote, February 5, 2019: A Humility Primer

This is a short story about humility. Follow this example and your ego will always take a back seat to your heart.

There's this great story about Neil Gaiman, the multi-zillion book selling author. The guy is at a party with a few hundred famous people. Think of somebody famous in popular culture and history and they were probably there.

He's standing next to the buffett and an elderly guy in his seventies guy comes over, by himself, just hanging around, outside of the crowd. Gaiman makes conversation. "Hi, I'm Neil." The other guy says, "Hi, my name's Neil, too." Gaiman says, "Like the party?" The other guy says, "No, I'm not much of a party guy." Gaiman says, "Yeah, me neither."

Anyway, after the two of them stood there for a moment, Gaiman mentioned to the other Neil that he was a little tired with the whole meandering around, putting on a fake smile, meeting people he doesn't know, particularly with people that have accomplished so much in their lives. Nobel Prize winners, politicians, people that have truly made a difference in society on all different levels of humanity, all over the world.

He said he didn't belong, even though he was invited.

Gaiman said that he felt like he didn't fit in, that he really felt like a fraud. "I'm not sure I measure up to these people. I write books. I'm not somebody that discovers a way to take trash out of the ocean or brings water to villages in the desert. I'm just a guy." After a moment, the other guy named Neil said, "Yeah, I know how you feel. I'm not sure what I'm doing here, either."

So they just stood there, quietly, two guys feeling a little strange that they were invited to the party.

After a second, Neil Gaiman said, "I'm sorry, but my last name's Gaiman. I'm Neil Gaiman." The other man said, "My name is Neil Armstrong."

Armstrong's reason for feeling uncomfortable at the party? He told Gaiman, "Well, I just went where they told me to go."

Be that humble.


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