LETTERS TO DUBAI: FAME FOR GOOD

Dear Dubai,

After exactly 10 years, I’ve revisited Las Vegas – for business this time, so I didn’t indulge in its hedonistic side. A couple of thoughts struck me from the 4-day trip – the Strip is just like Sheikh Zayed Road’s skyline (except from the casinos and booze everywhere) which made me miss Dubai, and second, one of its core realities is well-fitting to this month’s issue: fame!

 

In the outset, we’d think that some folks’ aspiration to be famous is incredibly shallow. We’d be quick to judge especially if the desire is layered with the goal for prestige, power, and fortune – such worldly and meaningless longing, I hear you say. And in today’s digital and social media driven world where views, likes and engagement levels are used as benchmarks to measure success that drive monetization and association, are we being hypocritical, unaccepting, or unreasonable for sounding like existential snobs advocating for our opinion about the true definition of happiness or self-actualization?   

 

Before passing judgment or making unfair conclusions, let’s dive deep into the subject. What are the manifestations of fame, its effects, implications, impact, repercussions, and drawbacks – not just for the subject, but more importantly for the world where they exist that they can influence, advocate for, and even change?   

 

The man of the hour and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates, Roman Catholic’s leader Pope Francis, showbiz A-listers and foundation builders Beyonce, Bono, George Lucas, Lady Gaga and Oprah Winfrey – as a common denominator, they’re all world famous… and are presumably perceived as good people. I’m throwing this as a starter for us to initially debunk the notion that fame is outright meaningless. Looking at the profile of all these individuals who leveraged their fame to better the world they can touch is a powerful anchor to its valuable potential if put to good use.    

Another prime example is how social media fame is utilized as a vehicle to activate advocacies and push life-changing causes for the betterment of many. For instance, as we see the unending plight of immigrants here in the US along with other daily challenges faced by minorities or marginalized groups, there are countless non-profit organizations backed by famous individuals that raise the agenda to appropriate channels that can deliver lasting solutions. Using their following, they help propagate the right perspective in re-educating certain segments of the society to not only bring ‘band aid’ solutions to certain societal concerns, but to truly make a lasting impact in making every tomorrow better for everyone.

 

So, am I for or against the concept of fame? I can boldly say that on its own, I’m not for it. Yet, if grounded in the idea of ‘fame for good’ which is to use it responsibly and profoundly to lift others, I’m hands down for it. 

 

As everything else in life, we’ll be faced with never ending chances and choices, hope that to those who stumble upon and would have the opportunity to be described as ‘famous’, may they take the path of using the destiny not for self-serving propositions but see it as power to bring forth greatness and meaning.   

 

And to all of us ordinary folks on the street, just be good – it’s innately inside you anyway, so choose it! 

 

Always inspiring,

Joseph

 

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