I love to hear or read about success stories, don’t you? I especially love a success story that involves secrets and mystery. It makes them all the more captivating and inspiring.
A few months ago, while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room reading a magazine, I came across such a story. The tale was about Carol Burnett and how this very successful comedian got her start in show business.
It was based on a spiritual principle.
“How can something based on a spiritual principle also be full of secrets and mystery,” I thought to myself. …But I kept reading.
Carol was a stage-struck drama student at UCLA living on hopes and dreams. Once the school year ended, one of her professors was leaving for Europe. He invited several of the students to his home to entertain his guest. Carol and one of the boys in her class performed a scene from Annie Get Your Gun.
Afterwards the students were invited to stay for dinner. While in line at the buffet, a man Carlo had never met before inquired about what she planned to do with her life. Carol responded.
“I hope to go to New York and make a career for myself on stage.” To which the man responded, “What’s stopping you?”
It was money, of course.
The stranger smiled and offered to lend Carol one thousand dollars. Suspicious of the man’s intent, she declined. The man quickly went away and then returned with his wife making the offer again. This time the stranger included three conditions.
First, if she met with success she was to pay the money back within five years.
Secondly, she was to never reveal his identify.
Finally, she was to pass the kindness on to another person in similar circumstances.
Carol took the night to think it over—feeling like the whole thing was a dream. By the next day, she accepted the man’s offer and took off for New York.
It was tough.
Without experience, she couldn’t get a job. Running out of money fast, Carol began to hound agents for work. Tired of her nagging, one of the agents suggested she put on her own show. That’s exactly what she did!
Carol gathered all her out of work friends and they put on a show that was written, orchestrated, choreographed, performed, and sung by each of them. The show ran for three nights. Almost everyone who was someone in New York came! It couldn’t have gone better.
The day after the show closed, Carol received job offers from three agents. That’s when the magical doors swung wide open and her successful career took flight!
Five years later, Carol paid back her sponsor. All these years she’s kept her promise too. Carol has never revealed his name. Nor has he revealed why he helped her as he did. Nevertheless, Carol learned a valuable, spiritual lesson that she would use the rest of her life—give in secret without seeking credit.
Hummm…that is a spiritual principle. The bible calls us to be kind to one another; to live generously helping our fellow neighbor. When we do, it comes right back to us. Perhaps not in the way we gave kindness, but in some form it comes back. I’ve experienced this truth in my own life—from both the giving end and the receiving.
Oh, yeah. What about the last stipulation? Does Carol help others succeed as she was helped? Well, that’s her secret, isn’t it?
Do you have a story about how someone’s kindness helped you succeed? Perhaps you were the kind person that helped another. I’d love to hear your story!