"I used to walk down the street like I was a f*cking star... I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be -- and then to fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth." ~ Lady Gaga
I heard a story about Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, while I was finishing my graduate school studies. The person who shared this story with me said she lived in the same dorm room as Stefani at NYU. According to this source, Stefani would run up and down the hallway yelling, "I am going to be famous. I am going to be famous." The person said that a group of students at NYU created a Facebook group that read, "You will never be famous Stefani Germanotta." I searched for the group on Facebook but I could not find it. This was long ago before Facebook expanded beyond the college scene.
This story stuck with me all this time for several reasons. I tried to picture whether I would have liked Lady Gaga, or 'Stefani,' in college and if we would have been friends. I tried to picture how she must have felt when she saw the Facebook group and if it fueled her desire even more to succeed. I also tried to picture all of the people who hated her in college and wondered what they were doing now. I believe Lady Gaga is quite possibly the most interesting and talented artists of our generation and she is someone who had faith in her greatness. We could all use a little of that Lady Gaga magic within us.
So how can we get better at believing in our own greatness? You often hear people say "fake it until you make it." I have a problem with this philosophy. While I do prescribe to the belief that perception is reality, I also think the world would be better off with fewer BSers. The key differentiator in my mind is that Lady Gaga did not just talk the talk, she walked the walk.
Why is it so hard to believe in our own greatness? I know for me, it's not that easy as I struggle with my lizard brain as popular writer Seth Godin explains. I already am my own worst critic and criticism, even of self, can often lead to self-doubt. The thing most people do not realize is that while having self-doubt is a form of pride, not being confident in myself is also a form of pride. Caring what other people think about me is a form of pride. Sometimes it doesn't seem like it would be pride, the way we act or feel, but it is. What is pride? It's the ego talking. "Your lizard brain is here to stay, and your job is to figure out how to quiet it and ignore it," says Godin.
If I ever meet Lady Gaga, I would like to know what it was really like for her growing up. I would like for her to share how she balanced her ideals for greatness with sincerity. At least throughout history, greatness is a title that is bestowed upon you but Lady Gaga claimed the title for herself. She did not ask permission to be great. Maybe there is something to be learned here after all.