I used to be a huge fan girl of the famous people I admired, whether they were company leaders, film industry luminaries, or web personalities… but the more I meet and talk with them, I realize they’re just like me. Most times I find they’re exceptional at what they do in their industry, or they’ve created something memorable and notable within a certain space. So, the only real difference then, is that more people have heard about them and are interested in their existence because of what they do. People either discuss what they’ve done (their successes) or forecast what they may do in the future (upcoming projects, work, appearances, etc.)
Recent experiences that run counter to what I’ve always thought about famous / high profile people are helping me realize that I’ve focused too much on fame as something to be achieved in general, or something that’s important in making life worthwhile. For example, the more times I’ve become aware that the person I was just talking to was a high profile or famous person and I didn’t know it, or I didn’t find out until much later how truly influential a person is to others, has made me realize that fame is really just about context. Someone that you personally ‘squee’ over may not cause such squee in others. As a society we choose what we think is important, what constitutes success. For example, fame in America comes from our obsession with movies. Introduce Steven Spielberg to someone that’s been living on an island their entire lives and hasn’t seen a single movie, and you’ll realize how much context plays a part in our understanding of fame. So really, we’re all just human when you strip away the labels, titles, connections and context.
So I decided to determine what’s important to me, personally. What I value. What’s really strange about all of this, is that now I’m painfully aware that I don’t treat all people equally. What I’ve been taught over many years to think is important regarding fame, causes me to act in ways that may be contrary to my values. For example, when personally evaluating a high profile or famous person, I’ve come to realize that fame does not always mean it’s from something good, or something I’d want to align myself with. For example, it shouldn’t be an automatic — oooo , this person is a web superstar or film industry expert, I should follow them on twitter and listen to everything they say — type thing. First of all, I don’t believe that’s a good idea in general, until I’ve made up my mind on whether they are worth the time. Secondly, I should always be aware of and define my goals and values are before jumping on the [insert famous person here] bandwagon.
“Is there substance and value to what they say? Do they add to or represent an important movement for humanity? Are they bringing good into the world with the work they create? You’re not just connecting with them because they’re influential or famous, are you?” These are the questions I ask myself.
In an era when so many things command our attention, and my life’s story could go so many ways, I’ve found it’s key to continually evaluate what matters, and decide what I want my personal story to be. Knowing people that have done things greater than myself, or have influenced people by their work, is wonderful, but it’s not an end goal. Creating work that speaks for itself, doing things that I believe in from my heart, giving freely, and helping those that would benefit from my existence, these are the things I want to be famous for.