Las Vegas is the World Capital of Attention Grabbing Overstimulation. In such a ramped up mega cacophony of sights and sounds, it's hard for anything or anyone to stand out for more than twenty seconds. That's why I was so surprised, on Fremont Street, in downtown Vegas the other night, to see an outdoor bartender quietly but flamboyantly wowing thirsty partiers who had been wandering up and down the avenue. He was an individual who truly stood out. And that's not easy, in his context. Every ten feet, there's a superhero, a breakdancer, a contortionist, a magician, musician, or a barely garbed man or woman, sometimes in a minimalistic historical costume, soliciting your attention and financial compliments. Have your picture taken with a Chippendales Dancer. Eat a Chili Dog with Darth Vader or Mr. T. How can anyone compete?
The treat of the evening was watching this one silent bar man skillfully juggling bottles and putting on a real show with each drink order, whether he got the applause and thanks he deserved or not. His skill, focus, and untiring commitment to make each customer feel special formed together a cluster of qualities that were a rare delight to see.
The noise level on Fremont can be mind-numbing. The light show projected onto the high canopy ninety feet above the street, playing off the apparently millions of neon signs also blinking from all sides, can be the ultimate distraction from any human performer. But this one guy just continued to do his thing, undaunted by the massive competition for attention that swirled all around him. Most mere mortals serving the whole range of humanity under the endless sonic assault of high decibel chaos from all directions would just hunker down, do the job, and try to get through the shift. Not this guy. You almost forgot the noise and the wild freak show flowing all around you, as he plied his craft and smoothly performed for each customer. Watching him reminded me of something important.
It's not our circumstances or our competition that determines our level of excellence or success; it's our inner commitment to what we do, and to the people we serve.
We should never let challenges shut us down, but raise us up to peak performance. In the end, it's up to us. For a look at our man in Vegas, play the few seconds below.