I really am Bob. But actually, I didn’t go to Yale. Not even for a visit. I did however go to Harvard. It actually it was just a visit-a couple of visits. It wasn’t far from where I grew up. I did attend an executive development program at a top notch school but I don’t brag about it.
Most people who graduate from top notch schools like these rarely broadcast it. They’re more modest. They don’t need to say anything. Sometimes, their modesty or their intelligence or confidence just shows it.
A doctor from New York visited our gallery recently. When I told her I grew up in Boston, she told me she went to med school there. I knew it was Harvard by the way she said it, and later someone else confirmed it.
Going to the best schools and not boasting about just seems so elegant.
When I meet someone new and the second sentence out of their mouth is where they went to school, I wonder does this person have anything else going on that is worthy. If the only thing you have to your credit is where you went to school years ago, you really need to get something else going.
It is part of living in the present, embracing who you are.
I was at an event earlier this week and met someone new, an artist.
Their second sentence really was, “I got my MFA from Yale”.
Should that impress me? Honestly, I could care less. I wanted to know about the work he is doing now. I want to know what drives him to create. I want to know about his dreams, how his work and he keep changing and growing.
It’s tempting to trade on the reputation of a university but the people who are successful and sincere don’t need that. The people who are doing something with their lives don’t need it.
It’s tempting I know. It is a source of identity. I taught for many years at one of Japan’s best universities, but when I meet people, I tell them I’m a writer, a consultant, a gallery owner, a dog owner. I don’t tell them, “I used to be a professor at X University. It would be honest, and although it is a part of who I am, it is not who I am now.
When I was a kid at summer camp, the camp director showed us how he looked when he was younger, with a great athletic body. I thought it was so weird. I thought the guy was a jerk to begin with, and him showing us this photo made me think he was even more of a jerk.
Ted Cruz, the Tea Party Texas senator, went to Harvard. But he is no credit to the school. And the fact that he went to Harvard doesn’t make him less of a jerk.
I don’t want to know who you were. I want to know who you are. I don’t want to know about what you did. I want to know what you are doing.
Notice how you talk about yourself and how others talk about themselves.
Do they talk about the past, who they were, the way things used to be.
No one will fall in love with you or like you for very long because of where you went to school or where you used to work.