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  • Writer's pictureCalvin

Relative Obscurity

There’s this preoccupation with being famous in the world. I think many kids dream of becoming a movie star or a superhero or someone in general that is adored by the masses. To be rich and famous was always the way to go. That was the primary way towards a life of awesomeness and joy.

People envy the life of multi-million dollar athletes like Lebron James and Kevin Durant because they have the money and they have the lifestyle to back it up. We envy the high-level CEOs that dominate the global economy like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. The people who seem to have it all in their lives. The wealth, the power, the fame, the status. And we envy and wish that we can someday also become CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies.

We are taught to dream big at a young age in order to find fulfillment and purpose and joy. And that’s all fine and dandy. After all, the majority of the people in this world toil in relative obscurity. The person who owns the mom and pop store down the road is just trying to get by. The single mother of two who works multiple jobs without any thanks or recognition is trying to support her kids. The son or daughter trying their best to take care of their elderly parents as their health declines.

Many people are relatively unknowns in this case. They are simply one number in a sea of billions of people in this world. With every person trying to write their own stories, fulfill their own goals, find their own joys in life. Everyone is trying to get by. And most people are not Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos or Lebron James or Kevin Durant. Most people are obscure and unknown.

But these days, I find this relative obscurity relatively comforting. I kind of like the fact that no one knows about my private life. How I can walk down to my local coffee shop and grab a latte and simply mind my own business, with no crazy fans flocking at me or asking for my autograph every ten minutes when I’m down the street. I appreciate the ability to simply work on my own projects at my own time without the burden of thinking about what my 1 million followers on Instagram will think about me. I appreciate simply being able to be myself and not having any handlers around advising me on how to be most socially or politically correct.

Fame is nice. Fame has its kicks. But like everything else, it is a double-edged sword. You don’t have that much privacy. You don’t have the ability to simply walk down to the local grocery store without having a mob of people looking around at you taking selfies or unsolicited pictures. You really have to get used to the fame and fortune, if you get up to that level. It’s not necessarily for everyone.

One of my Toastmaster members gave a speech about onions and tomatoes. How those are the relatively overlooked ingredients when it comes to preparing and making delicious lasagna. These ingredients are often overlooked, but they are integral in producing a delicious meal for the family to enjoy. They are relatively obscure. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have significant purpose in the grand scheme of things.

I’d say most of us in this world (the vast majority) are onions and tomatoes. We are overlooked. We don’t have 1 million followers on Instagram. We are relatively unknown to the world. But at the same time, we have the power to work our own magic as well. To find our niche in society and provide and contribute in the best way we can. Because there is value in everything, and everybody can provide some sort of positive contribution in however way they can.

It's okay to be onions and tomatoes. It’s okay to be relatively obscure. To be overlooked. To not be recognized. To not have extravagant fame or money or power or status. That’s all okay. In fact, it could be a benefit and an advantage in life as well. Because every project, every purpose, needs people on the ground at the grassroots level drumming up support or proactively achieving goals. Everyone needs people in the back office or in the background making a project sustainable. Not everyone can be front and center in the spotlight. Not everyone can be the lead actor in a movie.

We all need to play our part. And sometimes, we just need to work outside the limelight. Just to make things work. Just to help this world. In every little way we can. Whether it be taking care of your children. Or helping out a stranger on the streets. Everyone has a role to fulfill in society. Everyone can provide meaningful impact, regardless of whether you are Elon Musk or if you are just a normal person working a standard 9 to 5.

Everyone has a role. Everyone has meaning. Everyone has purpose. Everyone has joy inherently built into each and every one of us. Regardless of fame or status. I’d say that it is simply a privilege to be here on Earth, working and toiling away and figuring out what it is you were meant to be in this world. And that question will come and go. The answers will also come and go and evolve throughout your life. But keep asking yourself that. And be okay with being in the background. Because most of us are.

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