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Jan
11

DO YOU WANT TO BE FAMOUS?

I’m split. Half of me, a sizable half, wants to be famous. The other half of me, just as big, thinks achieving fame is an inappropriate ego trip.

But is it?

I think this is an important question because many writers, including myself, want to be famous and get the money that goes with it.

So again I’m asking, is chasing wealth dishonorable?

I think we’ll all agree there’s nothing wrong with pursuing artistic expression, and along the way, gain money and power by doing what you love to do. But suppose, from the get-go, you crave recognition and compensation. Does desire for quick financial success contaminate your art? Or you?

Taking this question further, is it degrading to want fame and fortune no matter WHAT you do? Is pursing wealth for the sake of being wealthy spiritually low on the “Godliness Scale”?

I personally know a bunch of people who’s only job is making money. Bags of money. Three-houses-and-a-boat kind of money. They don’t build things, invent things, or feed people, except indirectly within the companies they buy and sell. They just make money. And the more money they make, the higher their peer group score.

Some Ultra-Rich give to charities and foundations. Some don’t.

Either way, is there anything wrong with becoming extremely affluent?

If you were rich you’d probably say, “No.” If you’re a struggling writer, or a “B” list kind-of-making-it writer, or an English Lit major just out of school, you might think pursuing wealth is immoral and that artistic achievements are more honorable.

Well I’ve got a confession to make. I think getting rich just to get rich is greedy and ignoble. And because I’m prejudice, I’m not rich! But I want to be rich! Sort of…

I’ve wanted fame and fortune all my life, but avoided it because I thought it was an erosion of my soul. I equated money with corruption and steered past it. So I never achieved what I wanted because I didn’t want it.

Is this mucked up, or what?!

I now understand the contradiction and I’d love to dump it. But it’s not easy resetting attitudes and prejudices. (It’s not easy because I believe it’s not easy. If I believed it was easy, it would be! So not only do I need to change my beliefs. But I need to change my belief about changing my beliefs.)

Here’s another belief to change: All rich people have hearts of stone.

This is not true.

Not all super affluent people are greedy, manipulative or uncaring. But as long as I continue thinking the “one percent” are bad people, I will never want to become one of them, and I’ll never grow wealth from my writing or anything else.

The Universe always manifests what we want, even when we don’t know what we want. We may think we want an abundance of money, but subconsciously we may want a different version of that.

And that’s what we get, abundance in other ways – like friendships and admiration from others, and love, and children we’re proud of, and appreciation of who we are.

But is respect enough?

For me, it isn’t. Almost but not quite.

I want to be known by people I don’t know. I want lots of people to read my books, love my books and buy more of them. I want strangers to read my blog and email me with questions. I want to be admired. And I want fans!

And I also want NOT to feel guilty and ashamed for wanting all that. But I do. I feel I should be contented with what I am and that acquiring fame, fortune and power will diminish what little virtue I have. If that’s the case, maybe…

I FEEL UNWORTHY OF ACHIEVING POWER.

I think I do. But why? Why don’t I deserve power as a famous author or anything else? Who taught me that?

My parents.

No, I’m not blaming them. But they did instill in me a sense of powerlessness. Why? Because THEY felt disempowered, as did THEIR parents who raised them. Some people break away from that sense of inferiority. Some don’t. And some gnaw those mental ropes until they break free. I’m still gnawing.

Here’s an example why.

As I grew up, my Dad tried to charge me with confidence. One way was to teach me to box and then stand up to bullies. (Bad idea.) Another way was by stating through the years, “Son. Someday you’ll make it,” (Another bad idea.)

When I was ten, twelve and fourteen, this “Someday-you’ll-make-it” pep talk seemed entirely appropriate. It wasn’t. What my dad was actually telling me was this: “Son, you’re not “making it” now. You’re not important, now. You’re not enough now. Recognition waits for you someday in your future, but not now.”

Dad had no ideal what he was subconsciously conveying. He was being the best dad he could while trying to nudge me beyond his own limitations. He wanted me to be rich and famous because he wasn’t. And there was pressure with that; the fear-of-failure thing, the not-good-enough thing, the get-rich-by-thirty thing. His doubts became mine as they filtered into me from age six to sixteen. It took years to get past them. But did I?

Not yet. I’m still twisted in paradoxes. I want what I don’t want.

To some degree I still believe money and power corrupts the soul. So it’s not money that’s corrupting me. It’s my prejudiced belief about money that is! And my resistance is limiting me! And it’s keeping me isolated and restricted as an artist, as writer, as a famous writer!

But it’s never too late for change. I should review my new year’s resolution taped to the fridge door.

“STOP thinking, “Money is the root of all evil.”

*****

What about you? Have you also fallen into that Holier-Than-Thou trap of disrespecting fame and fortune?

Or maybe, like me, you’d love to be rich but it’s boring pursuing it. Maybe making profits isn’t the way you want to be creative. Maybe you don’t want notoriety as much as you think you do. Maybe you’re not that passionate about publishing. Maybe wanting millions of dollars from selling millions of books isn’t that important.

But if is, and you want to be a famous author writing with professional skill, why are you not reaching your literary goals?

  • Are you feeling unworthy?
  • Are you believing the stretch is too far?
  • Are you subconsciously avoiding celebrity?
  • Are you prejudiced against the type of person you are trying to become?

What makes you tick? Learn that and you can’t help but becoming a better author. And probably a more successful one as well.

So think! Think about who you are. And write about it.

This post was originally published for CuriosityQuills.com.

 

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2 comments

  1. Jerry's Cousin says:

    WOW! You sound like you have some hangups.
    Not everyone can be #1. Some people are disdained to be top in their field. Others are lower down the list and may be much happier than #1. Some people fall into greatness because they are at the right place at the right time. Still others must work very hard to get there. It isn’t fair, but that’s the way life goes.
    So try to look at what you have and be glad for where you’ve been and what you’ve achieved over the years. I’ve read your trilogy and it didn’t read like a boring life.
    So, Irv, stop beating yourself up. You have a gift to write, enjoy whatever you can get from it.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Okay…

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