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We all try, to some degree, to promote ourselves. That’s why we’re all experts at picking out the self-promoters, shameless or otherwise. And that’s why self-promotion is rarely effective as we may want it to be.

There’s a much better way. Here’s a story told by the comedian, actor, and author Albert Brooks in Vanity Fair about an appearance on “The Tonight Show”.

English: Publicity photo of Jack Benny.

There was always that last two minutes where Johnny was asking people, “Thank you for coming–what do you have coming up?” And during the last commercial break Jack Benny leaned over to Johnny Carson and said, “When we get back, ask me where I’m going to be, will you?”So they came back. Johnny said, “I want to thank Albert. Jack, where are you going to be performing?”

And Jack Benny said, “Never mind about me–this is the funniest kid I’ve ever seen.”

And it was this profound thing. Like, Oh, that’s how you lead your life. Be generous and you can be the best person who ever lived.

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