FAME: To be, or not to be

Howdy.  Thanks for hanging out with me for a little while today.

I was watching a TV interview this week and somebody said something that made me tilt my head and go… hummmmm?

Side Note: You know when a dog hears a strange or different noise and quizzically cocks its head?  That is what happened to me.

I believe that if we are open and sensitive there are things all around us that will cause pause and allow us to see a bit further down the road or view things from a different vantage point.

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The person on the TV said that there was a difference between fame and greatness.  Even as I typed the phrase I tilted my head again.

I tilt my head not because I didn’t see a difference before, it’s just that, this time when I heard it there seemed to be a weightier and deeper insight awaiting me.  I believe there are times when one is ready for a truth to go deeper in thought and heart.

As mentioned earlier there are things all around that we have seen or heard hundreds of times before.  But although certain truths are always present it only pierces when we are ready to hear.

When we are ready for a greater understanding of truth, and the timing or circumstances angle the familiar truth in a different direction… oh my… it illuminates and we see it in a deeper and more meaningful way.

So I think this is my time to gain a deeper life insight by looking at this fame and greatness thing.

I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great.”

- Ray Charles

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Fame is name recognition and notoriety.  You can be famous for good things and bad things.  People long for, fight for, give themselves for – FAME.

I tend to that believe most people who are famous are not great and most people who are great are not famous.  Did that sound judgmental?  I hope not.

Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud.”

- W.H. Auden

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It’s a curiosity to me why we are so enamored with celebrity.  It’s true.  I remember one time we rented a cabin at a mountain resort and on the table was an album of the cabin’s owner pictured with literally hundreds of celebrities.

Some of the pictures were nicely posed with the celebrity in question but most were pictures where the cabin owners would slip up from behind and get a shot of the celebrity with them in view.

It was funny… but weird.

Side Note: But then again, who am I to define weird.  Some people would say that my collection of 22 versions of the movie of Smokey and the Bandit is weird.  Just kidding, only 12 copies.

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I also know that being enamored with celebrity or fame is not a phenomenon of modern times.  Celebrity and notoriety have always had a mystical appeal.

I do believe that during these modern times we have mastered the craft of being famous through the entertainment industry, technology and social media.  But it has always been there.

One of the things I have learned in life is that there is a natural default to be drawn to the flighty, sparkly stuff of life.    Like a moth to a flame.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying there is anything wrong with the sparkly stuff.  I personally believe there is a time and place for the trivial, fun, and sparkly things in life.  All you have to do is to look at a child’s eyes light up at a Circus or at Disney.

So what’s the problem?  It’s a problem if we remain one dimensional and we never see beyond the trivial to deeper things.   If not careful glitter fills our eyes and we see nothing else.  Our vision is consumed by the glow and we become intoxicated by the excitement and emotional thrill.

Fame and celebrity are sparkly things, powerful things, exciting things, intoxicating things, and narrow.  The narrowness of fame is that the focus is “self”.

“A celebrity is a person who works hard all of their life to become well known, and then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.”

- Fred Allen

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If not careful the glitter of fame causes the unfortunate to end their life journey early.  A journey focused on self is a short trip indeed.  They arrive quickly and all efforts are centered on themselves… because they see fame as the destination.  If fame is the destination one becomes consumed with a self centered life living far below what’s available.

Life has so very much more than we can imagine.  It is so much deeper, lovely, meaningful and whole than anyone can fathom.  But one has to be willing to travel the journey beyond self.

On Thursday I plan to dig into what it means to be great.

I hope you join me.

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