"Are you arrogant?"
"Do you think you're better than other people?"
For some reason, I get those questions a lot, especially the last one, which pretty much makes me laugh.
"Better than other people?!!"
I wake up every day trying to make the world a better PLACE, if that's what they mean.
And no way do I always succeed, but dang - I sure enough do try.
That said, usually, the people who think I'm arrogant (or think that I think I'm better than others) have their own insecurities.
It's like years ago, when I was an NBC page.
Now, granted, I might have been perceived as a cocky son-of-a-gun in those days. But I was 23-years-old, and I thought I had the world by the "you-know-whats." And who isn't perceived as cocky when they're 23 (my heavens, especially today!).
But in general a few of my supervisors at NBC thought I was just plain-out cocky, as did a few of my peers.
That is, until one day, when a reporter from The Los Angeles Times arrived to do a story on NBC Pages. I used to sing and dance as the "pre-warm-up guy" for the audiences of The Tonight Show (with Carson), Wheel of Fortune, etc. And the L.A. Times reporter took note of that, and made me the center of his article.
In a few days, the article was published and, as it turned out, I was the only positive voice in the piece. Everyone else complained about their job - but I talked about how great it was being an NBC Page.
And boy oh boy did everyone's attitude change.
My supervisors were like, "Man, Herb - that's great!" "You're cool!" "You're the best!"
And my favorite was: "You've CHANGED!"
And I was really startled.
I was like, "Uh?....Dude - I haven't changed. YOUR PERCEPTION of me has changed. I've always been a good person."
In recent years, I've been blessed with great success in many endeavors. And I've been proud of it. But what some might call "boastful," I call "sharing." Dang straight, I'm tickled to no end about all the good things that have happened to me....and my columns, blogs, books, parties, etc. is my way of sharing that joy with others...not boasting about it.
Also, I share my life and thoughts with others because I think it's just plain fun to do so, and hopefully, some people get a little inspired in the process.
But I don't have blogs and books and big ideas because I boast...or because I'm arrogant....and definitely not because I think I'm better than other people.
Whatever "cocky" days I've experienced are long behind me (even though, again, in my view, my "cockiness" was really only misperceived by the insecure)!
I think the best way to make my point is this:
Nobody loves money and nice things more than I.
But do I think that having money and nice things makes me better than other people?
Do I think that because I'm a writer, an actor, a producer and kind of a cute guy that all of THAT makes me better than other people.
We all have our talents. I can sing, dance, act, write, direct, inspire, tell a good joke, be a good listener, and on and on.
But, at the same time, I can't count and I can't play basketball...which really are only two of the COUNTLESS things that I am NOT capable of doing.
But like the rest of us, I just do the best I can with what I have and try to be happy - and then go on to share my talents with anyone who wants to embrace and share my joy.
Nothing more...nothing less.
The real bottom line is this:
I'm a lover of many great and good spiritual beliefs, from every walk of life, culture and heritage.
As long as Love or Loving-Kindness is involved with a good religion or spiritual belief, I'm there.
For example, Pastor Joel Olsteen of Lakewood Church is one of my favorites from the Christian sector.
On page 88 of one of his recent books, I Declare (a genius publication), he offers this beautiful affirmation:
"I declare that I will live as a healer. I am sensitive to the needs of those around me. I will lift the fallen, restore the broken, and encourage the discouraged. I am full of compassion and kindness. I won't just look for a miracle; I will become someone's miracle by showing God's love and mercy everywhere I go. This is my declaration."
And THAT is about as "arrogant" as I get or strive to be!