Being famous vs. being important

A thumbtackFor a while I’ve imagined that I’d like to be famous. It’s easy to see plenty of examples of famous people in the news. You see their glamour, the attention they get. I can imagine that that attention is what I need.

When I reflect a little, though, I see a lot of downsides of being famous. People see you for your fame and not as a person. I would need to be careful to not hurt friends that don’t want all of the attention. My beat up car, messy yard and deficient house cleaning could lead to a callous remark in the grocery line.

Impermanence is one strike on the heart that shows why being famous is a down. You write the awesome novel. Then what? If you don’t write another, you’ve become a flash-in-the-pan. Your academic work is lauded in textbooks. If in 20 years, an unexpected discovery overturns all of your scholarship, the fame fades quickly. If you made a mistake, even more so.

Selective vision is another strike. Who will really care that you have a life-long commitment to support the local civic club once you’ve create a substantial industry? Incidents where where a president answered a child’s letter with compassion and kindness are lost behind the glamour of a successful career in politics. In the end, a celebrity has their life’s work washed down to one paragraph in an obituary.

Superficiality strikes darkly at fame’s aura. A famous person could really proud of something small, but in fame, it would be pushed from their mind. Their one giant success will blot out the little things that meant more before fame hit. To most, a famous person is little more that the avatar for their social media.

Fame is a very fickle mistress who has an insatiable appetite for more.

Being important is not so negating.

I can be important in many different ways. What is important to me is based on my values and experience. If I’m important to someone else, it means that our paths crossed in some way. I can be grateful that I said this right thing or listened at that right moment.

A small effort of kindness, really nothing in my eyes, could make a lot of difference in someone’s life. It could allow them to make a difference to others I’ll never meet

If I am important, I don’t have the expectation that I keep up the poseur’s show to protect any fleeting fame.

I can be important without any demands on my time. It doesn’t matter that I won’t be important tomorrow. I can go back to bed and do something important the following day.