One of my past bosses was prone to saying things like, “If it was easy anybody could do it.” Then he’d immediately add, “And it wouldn’t be fun.” Eventually he contracted all of that down to “If it was easy it wouldn’t be fun.” I never thought much about the implications of what he was saying until I moved on to working for someone else, a guy who was more prone to saying hackneyed things about his aunt not being his uncle because she lacked the balls – or something like that. Clearly, though, my old boss saw merit in the difficulty of the struggle. To him that made the work fun.
I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say work is fun but there are things that make the time seemed to pass by quickly. The effort involved in doing something makes it an adventure. It also defines us as individuals by the level of struggle we are willing to endure to succeed. To some extent it is true that the people who aren’t famous are the ones who were unwilling to put forth the effort required. Although in some instances it seems others become famous for no apparent reason, there is always a reason for it and if it didn’t take them effort to get there it certainly requires effort to remain there. Also, what is required for fame to endure will tend to piss off some people along the way. Family and some friends have the choice of being supportive or feeling neglected. At times they may believe that the famous person has changed. That’s not the usual case, though. I’ll explain some o that later.
All this came to mind this morning while I was writing a book review. Yeah, that’s how my mind works: do one thing while thinking of several other things in the process. I’m weird like that. Anyway, last night a good friend and I were discussing fame and why it comes easy for some people and not others. I asserted that anyone can be famous, it’s just that most are not willing to follow through and take the necessary steps for whatever reason.
Why would someone set out to become famous then not complete the process? Well, there are several very good reasons. Foremost is that being famous is not what people think it is go ingot be like. I’ve never been famous but I know people who are or have been for a period. So I have some insight on how it changed them and how it did not – kind of a before and after. Let me start out by saying that when each one became famous for a while it was fun for them and their closest friends who enjoyed the moment vicariously or through close association. It didn’t really change who they were but it changed how others, particularly strangers and friends who, in truth, were hardly better than acquaintances, responded to them. True friend were still friends. There wasn’t as much time to spend together, perhaps but that was sort of understandable with all the demands of maintaining fame. Then, far more abruptly than the fame came, all of it went away.
That’s pretty much how it happens, I guess. And from having witnessed the process a few times I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone has it in them to be famous. What is required it connecting with the moment and as many people as possible. You entertain them for however long you command attention and when it is over, if you don’t have something new to give, fickle human nature takes charge. The audience move on to the next greatest thing and unless you have something to bring their focus back, of have some slick marketing behind you with a publicity campaign to keep your name out there in public view at all times, you lose the spotlight.
Andy Warhol mentioned the 15 minutes of fame everyone supposedly has. It is pretty much the same thing, expect these days, with the Internet and everything else, it is more like five seconds. Yet never before has it been more possible to be famous. Writers don’t need publishers to share their writing, musicians don’t need record labels, and clearly you don’t need to be an actor or have any real talent or skills to be on TV. You just have to do something that provokes others to take interest. Then you, or rather what you do/did, goes viral. If you know how to hang on and adapt you might be famous for more than ten seconds.
So here’s a simple five step plan for fame:
1) grab attention.
2) hold attention.
3) gain more attention.
4) extend and maintain interest.
5) repeat steps one through four.
Yeah it is overly simplified, but that is also my point. We make it too hard when it’s really not. All you need to be famous is to get everyone’s attention and keep it for a while.
The first few moments of a song or the first few sentences of a book MUST gain attention of the target audience, otherwise what follows is irrelevant. That’s the nature of the world and I think that’s is why most people fail to become famous. They don’t have a firm grip on attention grabbing. The five seconds you have to convince anyone that should be famous expires while you are still thinking of the right way to begin.
#fame #attention #famous #publicity