How to Be Famous; Become Successful… at Anything
A lot of people want to become famous, but few have the will to do so. And that’s all it really takes, will. I suspect that anyone in the United States could become famous, if they really want to.
The first thing we need to establish here is that fame is typically a product of success. So what we’re really talking about here is being really, really, absurdly successful at something. We shall continue to refer to success as “fame” throughout the rest of this post, however, as it is far more provocative and sounds far less boring.
There are two major ingredients for fame:
A third possible ingredient is insanity, but this is not advised.
I put “luck” in the first spot because it’s the most important ingredient. People who are convinced they’ve become famous exclusively by their determination will disagree with me but, besides them, everyone needs a bit of luck.
But I must caution the reader. Luck is your enemy. You must imagine that you have the worst luck in the world. Never rely on it because it will probably let you down at some point no matter how good it is and no matter how long it’s been good for.
You know who has all the luck? Everyone you’re competing against. There are millions of people out there meeting the people you need to meet and getting paid for what you need to be doing because they were in the right place at the right time and you weren’t. So hate luck, despise it, and never count on it.
And one day, when you’re working against chance, an opportunity will arise. Circumstances, for a brief moment, will fall in your favor. In that moment, you will be overwhelmingly prepared to seize that opportunity, because you never counted on it.
To be famous we must set four ground rules.
I’ve lost 90% of you now I’m sure.
If you’re finding this article too dry, switch over to my other blog. It’s less intellectual, but far more fun!
If you’re still with me… let’s get started.
Thinking is not as easy as it sounds. We have to ask ourselves a few questions and they might not be easy to answer.
- What is the field in which you want to be famous?
- Do you actually have what it takes to find success in your chosen field?
- Why do you want to be famous?
- What is it that you got that the world needs?
- How might you market yourself?
Question 1: What is your field?
The question is easy the first time you ask it. But you have to ask it at least twice. You have to ask it once when you first consider these things, and again after you’ve considered them all. The second or third time around, it might be more difficult.
Question 2: Do you have what it takes?
Try not to delude yourself. With talent oriented fame, success is usually inevitable. Most athletes are recognized as exceptional early on and cultivated for success. No amount of desire could get Mark Zuckerberg into the NFL. If your success relies on the varied, subjective interest of the public however, as it does with stand-up comedy, you can, indeed, work toward your goal… if you have what it takes.
What it takes, by the way, is obsession.
Question 3: Why do you want to be famous?
Striving for fame can be noble. Fame is merely a benchmark of success. We should all strive for success. Whether you want to become famous in your chosen profession or by some hobby, you should try.
If you want to be famous for the glamour, or so you can date hot girls, or so you can feel that you are better than other people, you probably need to just read this: http://awesomeschool.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/how-to-be-awesome-ten-rules
Question 4: How might you market yourself?
Advertising is pretty simple really. All you need is buckets of money. Get buckets of money, determine where you want to advertise, and then create an ad.
This is usually what one does to sell a product or service. But it will also work if you are an inventor or an actress or a singer, because you’ll need to sell something eventually. Inventors sell inventions, actresses sell plays and movies, and singers sell concerts and albums. They don’t typically sell these things themselves, but if you don’t do it yourself, you’d better find someone else who will.
You can also do things Banksy style. Create a really cool stencil and throw graffiti up all over your city (but your stencil better be really, really cool or else you’re just a vandal).
However you do it, learn marketing.
Once you have thought a lot about your becoming famous, you must work harder than anyone else to achieve this. Chances are that you’re not the best at what you do and that you never will be. So you have to work that much harder to become the best. To really become famous, you must become the absolute best at what you do. Period. You must not think in any other terms, ever.
This is where another, semi-rule comes into place. You must be arrogant. I’m serious. Most people call it confident, but the truth is that it’s arrogance. Barack Obama is privately understood to have a ridiculous ego. Confidence can keep you on the road to success; arrogance will have you going 200 while everyone else is following the speed limit.
Just remember not to show your arrogance to anyone. Be modest.
And never get so full of yourself that you stop working. Prepare to sacrifice everything. My girlfriends all HATED my work. They referred to it as “the other woman” and would flat out tell me that they hated it… which kind of sucked. But that’s the price.
By social I don’t mean posting stuff on facebook (though that’s a good idea too). What I mean is going to lot and lots of events and parties with all kinds of different people. I mean having 100 or so “really good friends.”
You might think you’re not cool enough for that, or good-looking enough. I’ve lived all over the world and the way you look or act has nothing to do with how social you are, anywhere.
It doesn’t matter what you look like so long as you smile. Smiling is the absolute best way to attract people to you and to get them to help you. If a person likes you, they will want to be around you. They don’t care if you’re partying or doing math, so long as you’re smiling, they’ll be happy.
Even if you hate them, and especially if you think they’re better than them…
Being practical is very difficult for arrogant people and artists. I hate it. It must be done, though. We all operate within a market system. Things are set up in a certain way. You cannot, no matter how much you want to, “fight the man.” The man is not a man, but a system. No one man controls it and no group of men control it. The system is you and me and everyone. You must, must, must work within that system.
The truth is that people think how they want and do what they want. No amount of wanting them to think in another way will make it happen. I like old movies, but I know most other people never will, so I don’t waste too much of my time advocating the virtues of classic cinema.
You can’t work in a genre you know is unpopular and expect it to become popular. No matter how good you are, you’re not going to shift people’s tastes. One must accept certain truths about themselves and society in general if one is to succeed in just about anything. This goes back to the first bit of advice “think.” Thinking about the world around you is the single most important means of success a person has. Accepting simple truths like people despise being told what to do, that people enjoy talking about themselves, and that, sometimes, people are genuinely good, will get you very far in life. I recommend reading How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936).
It is true that a few people find success by breaking the rules. Occasionally some idiot puts a urinal on a pedestal, calls it art and becomes a sensation. These rare incidences have had the unfortunate side effect of inspiring other artists and entrepreneurs to follow this lead and do other crazy stuff. Craziness can bring fame, but usually it just makes a few of your friends think you’re crazy.
For most people, fame is of no real interest. Given some chance opportunity, they’ll embrace their allotted fifteen minutes, but then they’ll go back to their ordinary routines.
In fact, I’d say that a person’s influence is felt more by personal, one on one interactions, than by any other means. Famous people can never hope to have the same influence on your friends and relatives as you do. Even people you meet at random in shops and at parties are more impacted by you.
So if your goal is not fame, don’t cut yourself short. You’re far more important than you think you are, already.
But if you want to shoot for the stars, go for it.
Anyone can be famous. It’s all about success. Famous actors are successful actors. Famous lawyers are successful lawyers. And famous inventors are successful inventors.
By employing the techniques listed here, and with a little luck, you will be famous. You might not have a great throwing arm, but you could become a famous accountant. Just look at Alan Greenspan.
If you liked this, but want something a little less intense, switch over to my other blog. It’s less intellectual, but far more fun!
And now for your Daily Dose of Awesome:
*You’ll have to watch this on Youtube, but do click through, it’s well worth it. And don’t forget to watch Parts II and III!