‘66% of mid-schoolers want to be famous!’
I wonder what your response to that statement is? Mine was: ‘really? What is happening in the world?!’
Is it the money, the affirmation, the lifestyle that they aspire to? What about the downside - the invasion of privacy, the critics, the cruel publicity etc etc.?
I have no idea what this statistic was based on, what young people were asked that prompted this response. Was it an open ended question about their aspirations, or one of 4 choices or, worse still, a yes/no question!? (We have to dig deeper to find out about these stats. So many are sensationalised, misleading and/or plain meaningless).
But it prompted me to think, what was going on for those mid-schoolers I wonder? Did they have any idea of what they might do to become famous? Was it an easy response in the absence of knowing, thinking or deciding about their future? Did they lack confidence to believe for something unique to them?
Of course, fame is not necessarily about ‘celebrity’ status; what about being famous for an amazing scientific discovery, famous for environmental campaigning, for defending human rights, for overcoming physical or emotional trauma to achieve something remarkable; famous for being a great Dad, colleague, faithful friend, life saver, human being?
I have used hoozyu with some young people who weren’t considered to have great futures ahead of them; they had dropped out of or been expelled from school, or were assigned to a course because they hadn’t done well enough to make their own choices.
I saw many light up at seeing their ‘best thing’. One had a very high artistic motivation and next time we met he brought a huge portfolio of art work that he had never had the confidence to show anyone; one had a usual style that was all about engaging with people, which gave them hope for trying for customer-related jobs; one had a list of career matches that opened up so many more options beyond their assigned course.
Others got great help from recognising and learning how to manage stress reactions which had tended to get them into trouble in school and left them misunderstood.
The truth is all of us can build a life that is meaningful and remarkable to some audience. But rather than aiming for ‘fame’, ask yourself: what is your ‘best thing’? What do you aspire to? And where could that lead you to make a positive mark in the world?