Charisma Will Get You… Somewhere

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Charisma Cat from I Can has Cheezburger - Thanks!“Lenny” walked into my classroom today with NOTHING in his hands.

Bye Lenny. Go get yours books, paper, a pen.”

On a scale from 1 to 10, I adore Lenny, at like a 9.2. He is charming, funny, he pays attention. He has that “It” factor as a human being that exudes from his pores. He is smart, when he feels like it.

In a word, Lenny has charisma.

But for some reason, when he came in empty-handed this morning, I immediately thought of Charlie Sheen.

It’s that “can’t look away” quality.

It doesn’t have to do with looks, necessarily, or clothes or money. Charisma comes from the inside: it’s a personal vibration and magnetism that makes people come closer, and look again.

Charlie Sheen had it in Major League and he is still milking it today — in a slightly more psychotic and universally abusive way — to the detriment of his offspring, and all human brain cells, everywhere.

The Fame of It All

If you watch the audition stages of X-Factor or American Idol, you will see that alot of the people who walk through the audition doors can SING. But it isn’t their singing voice that is going to make them famous– it is that IT factor, that certain charismatic uniqueness that will make room for them on fame’s stage. After all, fame is a relationship with the audience.

But then you have folks like Lenny — in the instance of this morning’s class, he walked in the door and all he had with him was his charisma. Nothing more.

Lenny is a 9.2 in charisma. Good. A natural ability is worthwhile.

But has he learned through our fame culture — in our effort to get to the top without effort — that maybe he can get by on a smile and a bat of the eye?

There’s the difference between Charlie Sheen and, say, actor and family man, Will Smith. That difference isn’t in charisma: both stars are magnetic in drawing attention and audience.

The difference lies in the determination to illuminate oneself through hard work.

Will Smith did not walk into my classroom this morning. Charlie Sheen did.

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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  2 comments for “Charisma Will Get You… Somewhere

  1. March 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    This is an idea that I’ve been trying hard to wrap my head around and get out onto “paper” recently. An idea of “I Deserve” winning out over “I’ve Earned”.

    You’ve gone much further in cleanly getting this out than I ever could. Excellent post.

  2. March 22, 2011 at 5:26 am

    Well said. And for women it seems to be 100% looks.

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