I recently read a book called The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman. It's basically a transcript of conversations between the two men, who have been friends for over a decade. They discuss life and the importance of doing good as they explore the idea of The Dude is considered by many Buddhists to be a Zen master. It's a pretty fun book, easy to read and quite inspiring. If you're a fan of Jeff Bridges, you should definitely read it.
My favorite line in the book is when Jeff says "Everyone you meet is your guru, teaching you something." This is a personal philosophy I have had for a long time, although not exactly in those words. I've written a lot lately about judging others and how it prevents us from seeing things through a wider lens. I believe that everyone we come in contact with has something to teach us. If you write someone off because of a snap judgement, be it how they're dressed or what kind of car they drive, you're missing out on a potentially great learning opportunity. I like that line so much because of the word guru. Sure you could say everyone you meet is a teacher, but guru implies that they're a "master", that they're really worth listening to. Everyone is a master of their own ways. With that thought in mind, it also goes to say that the people I come in contact with have something to learn from me as well. I like the thought of myself as a guru. I truly do believe that just by being me and sharing my experiences with others, I teach what I have learned. I have seen that happen. Even if the other person doesn't realize they're learning from me or don't want to, I know that just by sticking with what I know and believe, I can inspire someone. That's a pretty big deal.