Being and Becoming Famous

 

One of the most dangerous things we are encouraged to do is idolize the famous.  Yes, we need to have role models; however, we must never idolize them and even more importantly, we should minimize the number of role models we have that are famous.  Why so?  Because we can be fooled into thinking that we cannot live up to their reach, cannot be rich and famous, cannot be great like they are or seem to be.  Each and every one of us can be great!  No exceptions!  All we have to do is believe in ourselves and act upon our best intentions.

 

Rosa Parks, now famous for her determined civil rights activism, was once just another concerned citizen and took many "baby steps" before she was able to move into the role of a leader.  Each of us owes others and ourselves the commitment and action required to grow and develop into the greatness within us.  And, as Nelson Mandela so eloquently noted, that greatness is not just in some of us, it is in all of us!

 

When it comes to famous movie actors, we find some very interesting examples and role models.  One of the finest young actors today is Edward Norton who was born August 18, 1969.  He received the Oscar nomination for his brilliant portrayal of an altar boy accused of Murder in  "Primal Fear" and went on to deliver fantastically in as a neo-Nazi in "American History X".  Norton was raised in Maryland and is the grandson of famed architect James Rouse.  But the thing that is most important about Norton is that he is a graduate of Yale.  He didn't just drop out and go to Hollywood and become famous.  He worked hard and long at developing his craft.  You will find that many of our best actors are highly intelligent college graduates.

 

Yes, some actors are connected.  Gwyneth Paltrow's mom is stage and film actress Blythe Danner and her dad is producer Bruce Paltrow and one of the close family friends is Steven Spielberg---none of which hurts.  However, she has developed her skills through dedication and hard work and that is why she won a Best Actress Oscar for her role in  "Shakespeare in Love".  Besides the connections and hard work, why is she so successful?  She says that: "I just do things I think will be interesting and that have integrity."   I firmly believe that the road to greatness for each of us lies along that path.  Engage yourself in what is interesting and has integrity and it will be hard for you to go wrong. 

 

As President Theodore Roosevelt one said:  "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."

 

To be able to work hard at work worth doing, to do that hard work in an area that interests you, to do work that has integrity….ahhhh…..so wonderful.  But don't assume it will be easy, or that it will come to you quickly.  Be ready to stay the course, to live with questions unanswered, to have faith.

 

As R.M.Rilke said: "You are so young, so before all beginning, I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.  Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is, to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."