Friday, August 25, 2006
Here is the paradox: egotism and altruism are brothers, identical twin brothers.
Am I promoting selfishness or kindness? You may wonder how such attitudes could bring success to a professional storyteller or to any other career.
When I was about the height of my dad's knees, there were many times I cried for my dad. Perhaps I had stumbled and scraped my finger. Perhaps I wanted attention (which to this day, I always cry for) or perhaps I missed my dad. Whatever the reason, I had a grand lung capacity and could turn all heads when I wanted.
On one particular day at a family gathering, the tears streamed down my face as if the world was at an end. I tugged on my dad's pant legs and looked up through my clouded eyes. Then he looked at me, shook his head, and said, "I am not your dad!"
What trauma! He was not my dad?! Of course he was my dad. He had that blonde-brown hair and the big glasses. How could he not be my dad? My cries heightened.
Then, out from among my relatives came another person who looked like my dad. At the time, I did not realize that my dad and my uncle were identical twin brothers.
As I got older I noticed some differences between my dad and my uncle. My dad's nose points slightly up while my uncle's nose points down. My dad is taller than my uncle--something I could not figure out when I only was as tall as their knees.
Despite their differences, they had many similarities. They both have voices that are so similar that I sometimes must listen for a few seconds to determine who is talking. They laugh the same. They are both into Ham Radio. The list goes on.
So it goes with egotism and altruism.
Many people, regardless of their career, think about competition. They compete with similar industries. They compete in the office. They compete with their peers. They compete with the world.
That list of reasons could be endless. I do not suppose I know all these answers. I can talk for myself.
True, I want to build a legacy and be remembered by others including my family, my peers, and perhaps by the world.
I recently took a survey about my reasons for wanting publicity from the book "Sell Yourself without Selling Your Soul, A Woman's Guide to Promoting Herself, Her Business, Her Product, or Her Cause with Integrity and Spirit" by Susan Harrow.
Out of 16 reasons why people would like to have publicity, here are my top two reasons:
1. Acquire professional prestige
2. Galvanize support for my community or cause
Funny, is it not? The first one is clearly a selfish reason. The second one is more charity-based.
Let me give you an example of something that is both egotistical and altruistic (I will include other examples in later blog entries)--
Eventually, I will add a page on my website dedicated to places to find grants and funding. I will divide these grants into national, state, and local levels. These grants would somehow be connected to the arts, storytelling, and/or education.
Selfish Side to Providing Places of Grants/Funding--
One of the most common reasons I am not hired as a professional storyteller is because, for some reason, the sponsor believes I tell stories for free. Another common reason is that the sponsor does not have enough in their budget or has a lack of budget.
Besides letting people know about grants, I would give tips on how to write successful grants. I would also include phrases specific to storytelling and specific to me as a professional storyteller to be used in grant applications. I may not write the grant for the sponsor, but I will give enough guidance to secure the sponsor's loyalty in bringing me in as a performer.
Altruistic Side to Providing Places of Grants/Funding--
I will dedicate much time to research appropriate places to send grant proposals. Being that this listing of grants will be on my website, anyone would use them for other purposes than to bring me in as a professional storyteller to their event or gathering.
Even telling you what I plan is being altruistic. Now you know something you can do on your own website.
Many times have the twin brothers of Egotism and Altruism been present. We may run up to the knees of Egotism and think we are looking up at Altruism. Or perhaps it is the other way around. Regardless of who you look to, the other twin is not far away and is ready to run to your rescue.
Until we tell again,
Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance