Hello Friends,

I went to a concert last Friday night to hear a group singing the greatest hits from the 50s and 60s. It didn’t matter that people my age and older, much older, occupied most of the seats in the auditorium. Didn’t matter. It seemed like everyone sitting there was having the time of their lives. We listened to great music sung by four male voices, perfectly blended, singing songs everyone remembered including the feelings and the events in their lives that went with them.

I, like the rest of the audience, felt totally caught up in the music, and the performers on stage who ranked as outstanding entertainers. They sold me a good time by how they sang, how they moved and how they related to me, the audience. Being thoroughly entertained, I found myself liking the performers, not just a little. I liked them a lot!

The idea about interviewing the performers for their take on living life to the fullest, following their dreams, and what they thought were the key components to being happy came to me as I sat there snapping my fingers and tapping my toes to the beat of the music.

At intermission, I approached one of the members of the group to see what he thought of the interview idea. After talking with me about it for a minute or two, he directed me to the owner and leader of the group who went from being a fun, charismatic, likable entertainer on stage to someone who became guarded and all business. His reaction totally flattened by excitement and   `1     n affected me throughout most of the second half of the concert and is the subject of this article.


John Nepper

The Ultimate Self


“Creating a joyful world by maximizing the best of human potential.”

“All Diamonds Have Flaws-5 Things to Remember When Comparing Ourself to Others”



Have you ever fallen in love with a particular character in movie, or made a hero of a super-star athlete, or better yet, aspired to be just like some very visible person just because of how they appeared to be on the screen, in the sports arena or in the media?

I’ll be honest. I have. I fell in “love” over and over with Rachel Green(Jennifer Anniston) from the TV show Friends. She was pretty and had a personality that was both magnetic, and sexy. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, she never knew I “loved” her. Maybe it would have been a match made in heaven, but more likely, she would’ve eventually had to reveal herself as a human being, as would I. She glimmers like a diamond but all diamonds have flaws. Even the pretty, sexy, magnetic ones.

It is so easy to see these superstar personas as people we want to be like or people we want to be with. They seem to have it all together, possessing all of the qualities that we admire and want to have for ourselves. These charismatic, funny, beautiful, well-spoken, talented idols invite us into their stage and arena lives making us believe that who and what we see are the real deal. If they do their jobs well, and the ones we are drawn to are obviously outstanding at what they do, we covet the prize they seem to already hold.

Say It Isn’t So

It is often a shock to us when we find out that our hero, or our movie love interest, has an addiction, hates children, is broke, or has other warts that are often disguised with make-up, or a super model on each arm.

Where’s the Glory Story?

My brother was a reporter for a midwestern newspaper several years ago and had the opportunity to interview Woody Herman, one of the greatest and most popular big band leaders in the industry. Being a fan, he felt excited about the chance to speak with Woody. Sitting face to face with this Big Band icon my  brother was expecting an interview filled with the glory story of spending a lifetime as a performing musician on the road, playing for auditoriums filled with raving fans. Not so much. The gist of the interview was that the  famous, seeming-to-have-it-all band leader was only on the road because he was robbed blind by a crooked manager and he would have quit long ago if he wasn’t forced to play to dwindling audiences, and live out of a tired suitcase due to his financial hardship.

So much for a glory story, but it is a perfect example that what we see on the outside isn’t exactly what is true on the inside.

Remember, All Diamonds Have Flaws

When I look at other people and compare them to who I am I work hard to remember a couple of things that help me keep things in perspective, mostly so I am not fooled by who I think they are:

  1. Does their perceived brilliance shine through no matter where they are, on stage and off, in the spotlight or at the grocery store, in the arena or at the playground?
  2. Am I clear about who they really are at their core and can I tell the difference between who they seem to be and who they are in real life?
  3. When I look at someone in the spotlight can I see their true depth as human beings? Are they real? Do they care? Do they show their true selves in all of their strength and glory as well as all of their faults and flaws?
  4. Does their fire burn brighter and hotter just because they are performing or do they bring that energy to their lives outside of the spotlight and off the court?
  5. Is the sparkle that I am attracted to just smoke and mirrors or are they truly living their passion and it comes through in everything they do?

Here’s the kicker.

I then ask those same questions of myself!