A Note to My Readers

Every once in a while, I come across writings of others which impress me so much that I want to share them with you. Today’s Blog is such a message. It is written by my friend the well-known author, writer and health care executive, Glen Van Ekeren, whose blog “Enthused About Life” is very popular. I hope you are as moved by it as I have been.

Measuring Greatness

“The way I like to measure greatness is…How many people can you make want to be better? In your time on earth, how many people can you affect? Or how many people can you inspire?”

– Will Smith

I’ve Been Thinking. . . I can’t think of a better way to measure personal greatness than by the lives you enrich?

(Editor’s Note: You probably know this story from the popularized television commercial, but Glen includes the actual story here, with historic reference link, in case you missed it and to make his point.)

Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted an old friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked “no admittance”. When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.

Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway piano on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.”

Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn’t recall what else the great master played. Only the classic, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.


I love working with team members who reflect Paderewski’s attitude: willing to give up center stage. True all-stars aren’t overly impressed with themselves. They may have ‘star’ billing but understand they are only as good as their teammates help them to be.

No one team member is indispensable but every team member deserves a shot at center stage. Leaving egos at the door levels the playing field for everyone.

Encourage the contribution of others. “Don’t Quit. Keep Playing.” Can you imagine how the little boy felt when the superstar arrived, shared the bench and encouraged him to keep doing what he was doing.

People often overlook the positive impact a little encouragement can provide. Someone once said, “Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.” Encouragement improves quality of life. . . and performance.

Reach in to help make sweet music. Great team players add their strengths to the performance thereby helping to create win-win results for everyone.

The most satisfying achievements are masterfully orchestrated by combining individual talents and collaborating efforts to achieve a unified goal.

Celebrate “We” successes. Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell, when asked about the importance of team work, responded: “The most important measure of how good of a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play.” There’s nothing more fun for a team than celebrating “we” successes.

How are you measuring your greatness?

“When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.”
– William Arthur Ward

Bernie’s 2 Books; “How to Prepare for Old Age—Without Taking the Fun out of Life” and “Revenue Generation Through the Sale of Kumquats——And Other Things” are Best Sellers on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. His weekly blogs can be read at http://seniormomentswithbernardotis.com/

Bernie also is an advisor to families needing information on Senior Living Facilities and other issues related to Aging

Bernie can be reached at Seymour.Otis@gmail.com–818-519-8347

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