Imagine you are sitting in your car waiting for the traffic signal to turn green. The car next to you scrolls down its window and it is ‘the Amitabh Bachchan’ sitting inside. You both exchanged a glance and he waved at you with a broad smile. What will your reaction be? Frozen? Numb? Adrenaline rush? Or would you simply feel as if you are in your bed dreaming all this?
Once his car passed yours, you would probably start thinking about the grandeur of life such celebrities have. Such fame and popularity would compel you to think and secretly desire to have even an inch of the stardom they possess. With millions of dollars in the bank and billions of fans dying to get a selfie, the desire to be known and unconditionally loved by everyone. That’s the magic of fame and in this piece, we’ll try and touch those depths of not so famous ‘Fame’.
Who doesn’t want to be loved and admired by all? Being treated and considered special than anyone else? Not being a part of a race of commoners but of the special chosen ones who taste not just success but fame alone.
According to a report published in the New York Times, surveys in Chinese and German cities have found that about 30 percent of adults report regularly daydreaming about being famous, and more than 40 percent expect to enjoy some passing dose of fame. Well, thanks to social platforms like Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others, many aspirants of fame are living their own short moments of it.
When we think about what possibly could be the reason behind the hunger for fame for people worldwide, it is probably the deep-rooted desire for social acceptance. People want to be socially accepted and if not more, desire to be socially followed and looked up to set a trend or style of their own for many. These yearnings evidently become more intense in life’s later years as the realization comes in that the opportunities to fame are somewhat dwindling.
The psychological effects
We, human beings, have some psychological needs just like the need for food and water. It won’t be wrong to say that we seek some sort of validation from others in order to be recognized for our work or craft. People believe that the only way to have their lives make sense is to be famous. They directly link their achievements and the satisfaction derived from those to the level of fame they’ll be getting because of it. They want to set an example for the society or simply want recognition for their achievements. They just want to be seen or heard or applauded.
Now, would you not agree with me if I say that we all keep a close eye on the number of likes and comments right after posting a content on social media? It is this validation that we seek that leads to crave for fame. If the post goes viral, one can have their very own version of fame. It is nothing but an addiction for constant attention, love and of course validation from others and that is where the problem begins.
The big and small fame
Fame is everywhere and on all levels around us. Do you remember or recall any cousin of yours who was quite famous in your family for always securing the 1st position in his class? Or do you remember that guy from your city or village who was the first one to win ‘who wants to be a millionaire’? Fame comes in all sizes. Someone who’s famous definitely gets more attention and love from society than someone who is not. Thanks to social media, it has given not just a platform but wings to many who aim to fly high. It’s interesting to see how the time has changed completely. Earlier you needed a Godfather, a connection or some jacks to make it big, especially in the entertainment industry but thanks to smartphones and social media, if you have the talent and skill and the confidence to put forth yourself in front of the world, the world is there for you to conquer. Bloggers and influencers are the new word for ‘celebrity’. The recent Cannes festival saw many bloggers/ influencers making their way to the red carpet when earlier the festival was kind of exclusively for only big celebs. This shows how the time has changed completely and for good.
The true meaning
The definition of this very word ‘Fame’ varies from person to person. Two different personalities with absolutely different take on fame:
Bob Marley once said- “I handle fame by not being famous. I’m not famous.” But on the contrary, Lady Gaga believes- “Fame for me is not external, it’s internal. So, I’ve been famous for a long time.”
Here, we see a stark contrast of thoughts. The one didn’t let the fame go to his head and heart while the other did just that. Interestingly, the majority of the famous celebs say that they never wanted to become famous in the first place for the things that come with fame.
“Becoming famous was never what I wanted to do. There’s a lot of things that come with fame- It’s what people in the limelight have to do.” said Bruno Mars. Marilyn Monroe too was of the same opinion when she said- “Fame doesn’t fulfill you. It warms you up a bit, but that warmth is temporary.”
But certainly, there are some who know the right power and privilege of being famous. As the famous Hollywood actor Will Smith very rightly put- “Being famous is such a gift for me because small things make people’s lives brighter. You just shake somebody’s hand. You just smile and write your name and people will talk about it for the rest of their lives.”
The side effects
Like every other thing in life, fame too comes with its own set of challenges. Ask any famous person and they would tell you the price they have to pay for being famous and the greatest of them all is compromising on their privacy. Your life is in the limelight and under scanner all the time. And let’s not forget the tremendous amount of pressure that comes with being popular to look and appear good ALL THE TIME! Even when you are not in the best of your spirits, you have to constantly smile at the people you encounter and the cameras that follow you. All eyes on you for even the slightest of moves you make. Remember that incident when Cristiano Ronaldo set aside the bottles of coca cola which lay in front of him during the press conference and how it led to the huge drop in share price of the company? This is what being famous can do to even a giant brand like Coca Cola.
The other side of the coin
If we dig deep and understand, what is it exactly that fame offers then it boils down to just one word- attention. And when we fantasize for fame, we just believe that everything will be taken just in the right spirit. What we don’t realize is that getting noticed by people doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always be loved or understood by them. Especially in today’s cut throat competitive environment, it is very easy for anyone to pull down someone on social media with their negative opinions. People don’t blink an eye before passing harsh judgments and criticizing someone for no reason whatsoever.
No matter how much we desire, there are hundreds of studies across the Internet that suggest fame is a terrible idea for one’s happiness. It not just affects our mental health but the overall wellbeing. With the rise of social media, more than ever before, youngsters are gravitating towards the idea of fame in order to gain attention. To be in sync with viral trends especially on TikTok and Instagram, people are attempting potentially dangerous things in order to become famous and to feel included. The obsession with how many likes, views and comments is yet another red flag. The hunger for fame is not new but it has accelerated significantly with the rise of social media. Our key takeaway is to find ‘balance’. Balance in the thoughts of what is it exactly that you aim to achieve by wanting to become famous and what is at stake if you decide to go that way? It is necessary to spare a serious thought before aiming for fame, prestige and admiration especially from strangers on social media. The intention is to gain just appreciation or to share something truly uplifting? If the motivations are just fame based, then chances are high people are going to scrutinize you no matter what, which will inescapably end in disaster for one’s self esteem. A thought to ponder upon, today!