I was listening to Mark Sanborn’s “You Don’t Need A Title To Be A Leader” and he said these lines that got me meditating about my life and the collective values of our society.
“Fame is based on what you get out of life, greatness is based on what you give to life”
WOW!!! and I wondered within me, what have I been seeking to do with my life? I believe that most people’s definition of success has connotations of fame or riches in it but I believe in a deeper kind of success … the Shibumi kind and it is quite simply success that is based on greatness, on what you contribute to make this world a better place. One of my favourite authors Stephen Covey puts it puts it in a way that says you can be successful but not significant [can’t remember the exact quote]
No, I don’t think fame in itself is a bad thing [often, the famous have made great sacrifices to earn their fame eg as musicians, footballers etc], but because it is something that appeals to the ego and increases our sense of self and I, I inherently suspect it because it could easily lead to arrogance and avalanche of other vices that come when we let our ego go unbridled. Fame will always be hollow, shallow and dangerous unless it is earned through greatness ie we spend a life of sacrifice and giving to others and then the world rewards us with fame [Like Ghandi, Mandela, Mother Theresa] … but exactly at that point is when the greatest danger to our spiritual evolution and growth comes.
In a way, getting fame as a reward for greatness could be the ultimate test of our spirituality. This is because fame lures the mean and weak into self exaltation, we start thinking how special we are rather than see that perhaps we were priviledged to have had a higher power [GOD] work through us [Remember Moses drawing God’s ire when he struck the rock to bring out water seemingly by his own power?]
So consistent with my philosphy that everything is a journey and or process, fame then can be seen as a bigger challenge that one must face in the quest for self mastery and perfection. First is all the work we must do within to purify ourselves, learn master and practice the right principles. Then as we get a bearing, we continue on that path, AND also start making contributions to society to help others and make a positive contribution in the world and if we are good at the latter, the reward then is the burden of fame which is a battle on the personal front.
May we find the strength to be able to tame the lure of fame as we grow in our self mastery and that perhaps one day, we may overcome it like the monk in “Bullet-proof Monk” by giving up our name!