Remember the old Jimmy Stewart movie, Harvey, about the guy whose best friend is a 6 foot imaginary rabbit? Bizarre (and thus awesome) plot, but there is one line in that show that stands out as a priceless bit of wisdom. Someone comments that the guy, whose name is Elwood, used to be so business savvy, and one of the keenest men in town. Then he takes on the imaginary bunny friend and everything changes. When asked about it, Elwood’s reply is the line that impresses me.
“Years ago my mother used to say to me… ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”
As authors, we’re trying to make our place in the world, leave a mark, get heard, seen, and read, even though our nature is to stay in the quiet shadows, curled up with a book or pen.
We’re told that we have to get out of our shell and become awesome marketers. We’re told to get our work professionally shined, wow the world with our brilliance, and then convince the masses to follow us around to gobble everything we produce.
The smart ones are able to pull it off.
I hope they’re enjoying their success, especially since they’ve worked so hard to obtain it. I’m sure they deserve it, and I’m impressed with their achievements. But personally, I’m with Elwood and Harvey on this one. I’ll take pleasant.
I hope my books help people want to be better, to get the most out of life, and love doing what’s right. I hope when people listen to my music, it makes them happy and feel inspired. I hope my stories play the role of the six foot rabbit that makes everyone feel good to be around, and inspire people’s imagination.
My works might not reach millions, but to the few they reach, I hope they make life just a little better.
Of course some will say that without the smart business mindset, you’ll never make it. That’s not reality.
To that I’d respond as Elwood, “Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.”
So if you’re struggling between whether to be smart or pleasant, I recommend pleasant.