Thursday, 14 October 2010

Don't Aim for Fame

The Words of Wisdom this week are Don't Aim for Fame. This may seem strange in a business in which people may become extremely famous, in a world that worships celebrity as never before. But fame - don't aim for it.
For one thing dreaming of success doesn't help you to attain it. You may be sure that the medal winners at the 2012 Olympics are not daydreaming of standing on the podium. Thry are too busy visualising their next hard session on the track. We have all heard angry X Factor parents complain to Simon Cowell "You've destroyed her dream," but that's all it was - a dream - and dreams disappear when you wake up to reality. Focus on the work, not the reward.
Of course, if you do well and are successful, particularly in the performing arts or sport, this tends towards your being known to a lot of people, but I can assure you that this is not a blessing but a curse. It's the penalty you have to pay for being successful.
Think what it's like: you can't go anywhere you want without people recognising you and bothering you. Any new person you meet may just want to be part of the glitter of your fame and that's why they're smarming up to you. If anything happens in your life the paparazzi will be on your doorstep and you won't be able to step out of your house without being mobbed. If you're in a soap, people will confuse you with the character you play and give you unwanted advice about what should happen next in the plot. You will have to put up with the same jokes and catchphrases repeated again and again and again.
Some members of the public believe they are licensed to be as rude to you as they like: "It's us that put them there" they reason. Wherever you are in the world, someone will come up to you and ask you for an autograph, a donation, an opinion or a favour. And if your fame depends on public taste, it can disappear like turning off a tap. Some people will hate you.
Worse still is to use your family for publicity. Talk about your marriage, or your home, or your child's illness and you will have made it public property and created public interest. When your marriage goes wrong there will be no hiding from the attention of the red-top tabloids.
Many people who seek for fame have a narcissistic tendency and confuse the love of an audience with the love of a person. If they are successful this tendency is reinforced. See the rage of a TV personality when his or her show is axed. It's not just the loss of money or opportunities for achievement: they feel it as a cruel withdrawal of love. Hell hath no fury like a celebrity scorned. Do you want to be at the mercy of the uncaring audience?
The lives of celebrities are governed by fear: the fear of loss of celebrity. Don't Aim for Fame.