In society, we have a tendency to paint out heroes, whether it be in pop culture or in movies or where there is a platform for distribution. We love our heroes. We want to be like them. We want to learn from them. They become our inevitable role models whether we like it or not.
For me, I’m a fan of the NBA. And there are countless superstars in the NBA that the media just love to gawk about. People who are good at their craft. Who are good at shooting a basketball into a hoop. People who make hundreds of millions of dollars in the span of just a few years! I respect them for their craft. And I respect them for being crafty enough to be able to earn that much money. Plus the commitment and hard work and sacrifice that it took for them to get there.
However, at the same time, I sometimes question whether NBA basketball players (or anyone with a large and famous platform for that matter) should qualify to be quality role models for the everyday kid trying to learn about life. I wonder if that’s the best way to educate and to tap into inspiration from.
I know that these players probably have millions of followers on Twitter and Instagram. I know that they have a lot of sage advice that they can indeed contribute to the world. But sometimes, I wonder if we as a society become too dependent on famous and rich people to be role models for the next generation.
At the end of the day, they have their own warts and flaws. Even though they make more money or are considerably more famous than you and I, that doesn’t make them necessarily more qualified to speak up about other issues. Of course, they have the right to do so. But they are not necessarily an expert in other realms of life.
Just because they are good at playing basketball or good at acting or good in a particular skill, doesn’t necessarily make them the best person to follow in say financial budgeting or healthy living. Many times, we tend to generalize these stars in the world. We assume that because they are rich and famous, that they are simply good at life. That they are simply good at everything there is to do and learn from.
And that can be a bit risky and dangerous. Because again, everyone has their own warts. I would argue that because they take so much time and dedication to work on their craft, there is a significant opportunity cost in other areas of their life. Maybe, they might not be the best partner, or the son or daughter, or the best community member. They might not be the savviest financial investor or perhaps have the best education in other topics like gun control or climate change.
It's all a crapshoot. And it’s important that we realize that these people are good to admire and look up to. But at the end of the day, they shouldn’t be responsible to help us lead our own paths in whatever it is that we are searching for. Because they make mistakes as well. They mess up. They falter and the way they lead their lives might not apply very well to our own.
So, take what they say and do with a grain of salt. Not every single advice should be followed. Not every single action they take should be copied. Just because they seem high and mighty does not make them the end all be all for every decision-making process.
You need to figure out what it is that you want. Life is messy. Life can be complicated. And there’s no one strict magic formula that can solve every single ill there is in the world. Nor am I saying that every single “problem” in this world needs to be “fixed” or “solved”.
Famous people have a lot of influence and with that comes lots of responsibilities. I honestly don’t envy their situation, regardless of how much money they make or how many people look up to them.
Currently, right now, I am relatively satisfied with my plain old simple living in obscurity, where I can walk down the street and not be gawked at by strangers or frenzied media members. I can go out to a coffee shop and sit down and have a latte at my own time and leisure. I can think and do almost whatever it is that I please without my one million followers on Instagram judging my every move. And for that, I am grateful.
So, I hope that you can find guidance amongst the right crowds based on your own situation. Some of your mentors might be famous and rich. Some of them might not. It’s all fine and dandy. Just make sure to realize that everyone has their own outlook on life and what works for them may not work for you. Pick and choose your path at your own pace and at your own discretion.