Often when you meet someone in-person you’ve long-admired, it’s a disappointment. Through marketing & public-relations manipulating, people can project themselves as something they really aren’t. Others burn-out too soon, and become husks reduced to shilling for their audiences. A lot of musicians & entertainment types fall into that trap. Also our naivety can lead to lofty, and sometimes unfair expectations. Sport “heroes” often fall into this category.
…and other times our expectations are exceeded!
If one can mature from naivety into wisdom, without become hard-hearted & cynical, then one can learn to recognize greatness in others. In turn, others will recognize it in you.
The “Father of Modern Dentistry” is G.V. Black, and below is a photo from the cover page of Black’s 1897 classic textbook:
I mention this because every dentist in America (and around the world) knows Gordon Christensen, who is regarded as the “father of today’s dentistry,” by many, many in the profession. He is highly respected by everyone in the field, for telling them the truth about practicing in the real world . Knowing the difference between what works & what doesn’t, can be a practice saver. It’s also good for one’s sanity. Gordon Christensen has been educating dentists on all this and more, for over 40 years.
Since most of my readers aren’t in the dental profession, I’ll skip the details of Gordon Christensen’s 6-hour presentation (pamphlet above), and instead describe what makes a man great in general terms. I’ll sometimes speak in the masculine gender, but all this applies equally to women. Photo of Gordon Christensen below by Marie Peck:
When a truly significant person is being introduced, they are humble & observant. They seek to use humor, often by poking fun at themselves, to relax their audience. This makes the audience feel their more equal to the performer, which everybody likes.
A natural performer moves through the crowd. First with their eyes, then physically whenever possible. This lets everyone get “up close,” and connects the performer with the crowd. They always command the microphone, especially when taking questions from the audience. They summarize and move quickly, engaging & disengaging often to maintain a stream of fresh content.
Their presentation will be varied, and tailored to each crowd. Every audience is different and a natural performer will read the faces to see what’s working, and (more importantly) what’s not. At the first signs of audience disinterest, the superior performer will recognize and shift gears, transitioning towards more attention-grabbing content.
The genius trick to being an exceptional performer is making it all look easy. The best just keep going, and when it’s all over you (audience) are exhausted, while the performer could have kept going for hours. The best can always keep going, whenever necessary. This is because they are physically & mentally fit, and completely in their niche. They own it, but don’t be fooled: it’s also the product of thorough preparation & hard work.
Even when things go wrong (which is most of the time), the best handle it with grace & ease, blending in their own variety of humor & personal touch. All this is called style, and the best performers & professionals have it. It’s instantly recognizable, and electrifying to be around. After the initial exhaustion of such an intense experience, audience members are often re-energized for a long time afterwards.
Much of our lives are dull monotony, so when we get the rare privilege of interacting with someone truly gifted & special, it’s a powerful experience. These are the people that change lives through force-of-personality & living example. The best let other people list their credentials and talk about them, because they are too busy working on what’s next to be concerned with promoting themselves.
These qualities of exceptionality are what we need to cultivate more of in ourselves. Dr. Gordon Christensen is so respected in dentistry because he’s the genuine article, which is extremely rare– anywhere. He tells the truth (even when we don’t want to hear it), and leads by example. That’s the best way to lead, and that’s why so many dentists listen to him.