What's happening? January is almost over, right? In fact, 2023 is pretty much about to be done...I saw Christmas lights at a local shopping center and my sense is they figured why put them down when the holidays are right around the corner.
Time no dey o.
I was watching CBS Sunday Morning, my favorite morning show ever (I still want to replicate this in Africa for real, my agent dey here), and they did a piece on the great acting legend, Harrison Ford. 80 years old, and still doing great work. Many great tidbits—moved from LA to Wyoming to get away from the noise and BS, lots of career anecdotes, and more. The thing he said that jumped out at me though was his big thought on fame: the loss of anonymity.
Not privacy. Anonymity.
Bill Murray famously said, “I always want to say to people who want to be rich and famous: ‘Try being rich first. See if that doesn’t cover most of it.' "
The big man himself, Oga Conqueror #1 of Ndi France, Napolean, dropped this gem: "Men of great ambition have sought happiness, and found fame."
And of course, Tim Ferris, the noted podcaster and author puts it more succinctly—the way I like my coffee, succinct—“You want everyone to know your name and no one to know your face.” Note that Tim early in his career declared that if he was not famous by 30, "I might as well put a bullet in my head."
As we say in Nigeria, it is not that serious abeg.
The chase for fame intrigues the hell out of me. You see nakedly ambitious moves by people who want to be seen, heard, sought, acknowledged, validated, worshipped, and more. Not just on the usual landscapes of media and entertainment, but also in business, academia, public service, and more...if I may repeat that grab bag of a phrase: and more.
I have done a lot of work with folks in philanthropy, non profits, and the public sector, and many the peacocks aplenty there too. These folks walk into a room and you are legit wondering if you should be doing a curtsey, women and men. The egos in the non-profit sector actually have me concerned for the folks they are supposed to be looking out for, for real.
Do you know who I am?
Even in religion o. Or what I call the business of saving souls. The obvious need for attention, power, and the perks of fame for many pastors, religious leaders, and spiritual founders have been quite a thing to marvel at, and in no way in a positive note.
Infamy is a thing too. When you become famous despite yourself, and for reasons that you had nothing to do with. This is becoming more common these days, as we move at the speed of truth, and of disinformation, ask the Karens aka the Notorious Ks...the connoisseurs of infamy.
Maybe it's the fifty year old me that has found wisdom in the last decade or so. I admit that I wouldn't have minded getting some love when I was younger, but back of mind I always felt like there was a price to be paid, so the pursuit was very lackluster. When Michelle Obama muses about just wanting to be able to go to Target and not have the Secret Service tag along, or get gawked at by other shoppers, I take her at her word.
Ladi dadi, we love to Target. We don't cause trouble, we don't bother nobody. We just...
(Ahem. Excuse me. Sometimes the spirit grabs me. As I was saying...)
Fame has this associative thing with uniqueness, talent, bold vision, daring. Risk taking. Swash-buckling. Dat one na lie. Current events and the speed of information have shown us that fame is fleeting, and even can be destructive. In this day and age of receipts, bruh, careful what you wish for o. You get famous, and all of a sudden that daring is discovered to be luck. Or the bold vision was purchased from an unknown founder. Your talent? Your mom's connections. Get famous, and all of a sudden you start seeing haters everywhere, most of them phantoms lurking in your imagination.
Harry and Meghan should have quit while they were ahead. The Oprah interview was a killer play. Devastating shot to the solar plexus. Could have rode into the sunset with that and cleaned house.
The ego is the enemy, and man...fame is it's slick and psychotic twin sibling. There actually is a book called Ego Is The Enemy, and any coach worth her salt should be recommending that book to her clients before engaging. If I managed a superstar athlete, artist, corporate exec, anyone with a high profile, they will have all variations of that book and it will be their bible. If you want to be famous, please read the book.
And I'll send you my address for the thank you note.
As I like to say, hmm...posers pose, doers do. The real players are about poise, not pose. If your own na to chase validation and status, you go find am o. Just know...like play, like play, validation and status will bring their entourage too, this is an all-inclusive package, with all the requisite wahala as part of the main course.
Protect ya neck.
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