Authenticity can be a matter of simplicity. When one is truly himself, the trappings of success can seem frivolous and unimportant. Will Rogers experienced great success from his newspaper columns and stage, radio and movie appearances. His celebrity status garnered him all the money he would ever need. Yet he never lost his signature simplicity. He continued to wear the same type clothing as always, a kind of rumpled general-store style.
At the height of his popularity, the furnishings in his dressing room reflected who he was. They consisted of two old straight-backed wooden chairs. His wife, Betty, wanted to surprise Rogers by redecorating his dressing room. She purchased two soft, comfortable armchairs, a chaise lounge, drapes, lamps and an Oriental rug. Everything a celebrity of his caliber might desire. Rogers seemed sincerely appreciative of her thoughtfulness.
Days later she returned to the dressing room thinking he might be relaxing in one of his new comfortable chairs. Instead, she found him sitting on the floor cross-legged. He commented that he couldn’t find anyplace to sit that suited him.
Betty understood. Within a few days Rogers’ dressing room was restored to its original state. His simple, functional chairs came back, for they were what matched Will Rogers’ character. He was not ostentatious and neither were they.
Will Rogers authenticity was his power and his influence. He stated it best when he said, “I use only one set method in my little gags and that is to try and keep to the truth.” Indeed he was a master of simple truth.
If and when there are times when you feel pulled this way and that and you’re not sure what you should do or who you should be, remember Will Rogers, for that might bring you back to your authentic self. Once you are centered in your realness, you will have a better sense of what direction is right for you.