“Show me what a people admire,
and I will tell you everything
about them that matters.”
- Maggie Tufu
I agree with Maggie Tufu even though she’s a character in fiction.
Dare to look closely at what our society admires. It will take your breath away.
We’re a nation of addicts, craving that which makes us weak, frail and small.
We hunger for fame and fortune.
Fame is seductive, addictive and corrosive. We never possess it. It possesses us.
Fortune is debilitating. You’ve noticed how rich people are often aimless, unmotivated and unhappy? Of course you have. We know these things. We’ve seen the evidence. But we desire fame and fortune anyway. We believe we‘ll be smarter than those others. Fame will make us twinkle. Fortune will make us dance.
We’re addicts. Not once have we seen fame and fortune bring the peace, contentment or fulfillment they promise but we hunger for them anyway. Weird, isn’t it, to be addicted to something we’ve never had?
Fame is erased by time and distance. It is a fire that dies slowly in the night.
The handcuffs of fortune could be escaped in an instant if a person had the nerve. But our addiction to wealth is too deeply rooted.
In the tenth chapter of his report, Mark tells of a young man of great wealth and authority who approached Jesus to ask him the secret of life. After a little banter back and forth about all the actions the young man had already taken in his quest for purpose and meaning, “Jesus looked at the young man and loved him,” and in that historic moment said, “The only thing left for you is to sell everything you have, give the money to the poor and come, run with me.”
Can you imagine that moment? I imagine Jesus with a smile, standing as a person stands when they’re holding a door open for someone else, gesturing with an upraised palm and extended arm toward the pathway that lies ahead. Mark (ch. 10) and Luke (ch. 18) tell us the young man “was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.”
A number of years ago a friend asked a group of us to imagine a single moment in history we would visit if we could step across time and space. It’s an interesting question. What event would you witness if you could be there, in person, to see it happen?
I knew my answer immediately. When asked to speak of my chosen moment, I said, “On the shores of Galilee in the early morning hours when Jesus said to Peter, Andrew, James and John, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,’” and their grand adventure was begun.
I’m in the business of helping others achieve fame and fortune. It’s what I do. It’s my job. And frankly, I’m very good at it. But the fame and fortune my clients win is just a consequence of each of them having made a difference.
They make the difference. I just figure out how best to tell their story.
Make something better: a product, a system, a circumstance, a life. Make something, anything, better. Fame and fortune will follow if you have a friend who will tell your story.
Don’t do it for the fame. Don’t do it for the fortune. Make a difference because that difference needs to be made. Be the person who changes something for the better.
It doesn’t even matter what the thing is.
Let the adventure begin.
Roy H. Williams
“And as for fortune and as for fame: I never invited them in,
though it seemed to the world they were all I desired.
They are illusions. They’re not the solutions they promise to be.
The answer was here all the time… I love you, and hope
you love me.”
- from Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina
by Andrew Lloyd Webber