Why are we so mesmerized by fame? Not a day goes by that we don’t hear some story about a famous actor, musician, athlete or politician that sucks us in with full attention. It does not matter what the story is and it could be as irrelevant as something they were wearing but we still get drawn in. Why is this? What is it about famous people’s stories that grabs our attention?
First of all, it has nothing to do with their craft because usually the stories around them have nothing to do with what they do for a living. An example of this is Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a joke about his wife. Regardless of whether you support or condemn his actions, the fact remains that he is a great actor. I do not want to speculate about his actions as this is not what this article is about.
So what is it about famous people’s stories that mesmerize us? It is the fact that they are not perfect, they are vulnerable, they make mistakes and, often, behave badly, just like us. You see, we are all seeking validation for our own frailties and we just want to know that, even those that seem to have made it, can fall short of the expectations placed on them and the high pedestal they have been placed on. We simply hold them to a higher standard because of who they are.
This, however, is not fair to them because it is hypocritical to hold someone to a standard that we ourselves cannot reach, even if they are in the limelight. Most people, who become famous, do not seek fame but reach it because they are great at what they do, whether it is acting, performing, making music or playing a sport. We want what they have because they are usually handsomely rewarded for their craft, in the form of wealth. And why shouldn’t they be if they are good at what they do because it is we who put them there because they entertain us.
The fact is that, regardless of how famous one becomes, they are only human and not the gods we make them out to be. They still have to get up in the morning, brush their teeth, get their kids ready for school and go on to do the work that they do. They may have come from difficult beginnings, suffered trauma or abuse and gone through a lot of pain to get to where they are. We have no idea what they have gone through to achieve what they have, yet we are quick to scrutinize and judge them.
The fact is that you cannot judge anybody until you have walked a mile in their shoes. What is common to a lot of people, who are considered famous, is that they would much rather have the perfection of their craft and the recognition and wealth that it brings without the fame, which becomes problematic because of how meticulously they are scrutinized by the public.
Therefore, if you ask me does fame really matter, I would say that it is irrelevant. It does not make one a better person, happier, more serene, less vulnerable or better than anybody else. All fame does is to hold one to higher standard, for which they are often unprepared and can’t achieve. The next time you judge someone for their behaviour, famous or not, ask yourself, do you hold yourself to the same standard?
If we could only look within as deeply as we look to those who are famous, we would be able to scrutinize our thoughts, our emotions and our past to see if they truly serve us and may even go on to achieve something that is worth the effort. Therefore, place some of your attention within instead of on others, no matter who they may be. You will be a better person for it and may even be able to do something meaningful with your life.
Dr. Nauman Naeem