My fellow young adult, let’s be uncomfortably honest about our generation. We are in love with ourselves.
But why do we never just stop, slow down, take out the headphones, and ask ourselves what for? The cause is a disease that’s both deceptive and enticing. Most of us are blissfully ill with a disease called narcissism.
When we’re more excited by new Twitter followers than interactions with actual people, the sickness is winning. When we’re immersed in the richness of a foreign culture, but find that we are most concerned about getting the best photos to show off on Facebook, it’s reached an embarrassing level.
A couple years ago, I asked my roommate to go on a jog with me. His telling response still bothers me to this day. “Nah man I’ll pass, I can’t be alone with my thoughts for that long.” It breaks my heart, but we are a generation scared of silence and personal reflection. And yet we are all running ourselves ragged in pursuit of some distant goal.
Let us focus on the lie narcissism whispers in our ear: “Fame is the answer.” Think about all of the most famous, glorified people over the millennia. What do they have in common? They’re all dead. The lucky ones are relegated to page 347 of a history book. What does their fame matter now?
“If only I were a celebrity, then I would be fulfilled”
Spend anytime in Hollywood and you quickly start seeing through the facade. People are broken. Chris Barksdale of The Hollywood Church put it this way: “They want to be famous. Their passion and their drive and their heart, and what is really their significance or identity is found in being successful and being valued by culture. When they don’t get that, what happens most of the time, is that they end up crumbling underneath that.”
Yet thousands of wide-eyed kids flock to the Industry of Self-Promotion, also known as the entertainment business, every single year. In no way am I advocating that you stop following your dreams, but rather I’m hoping you take the time to ask yourself – “Why?”
Work harder than anyone else, but first understand what your motivation is. If your primary goal is to be famous, I can almost guarantee you a life filled with heartache and disappointment.
If you’re Twitter-literate then you’ve seen one of your buddies ask a celebrity for a “RT.” Ninety-eight percent of the time this is solely for the purpose of getting yourself more “followers.” Can we all just take a step back and look at how ridiculous that is. If you died tomorrow what difference does it make how many Twitter followers you have? The concept of dying, or imminent mortality, whatever you want to call it, is another subject that our generation ignores, hidden under some veneer of invincibility – but that, my friend, is topic for another day.
Be an entrepreneur. Be a trailblazer and a dreamer. Be more than the expected. Just remember one truth: our personal glory fades much faster than it appears.
How do we fight back against the plague of narcissism? I’m going to sound like a hippie, but it’s the truth, love everyone more than yourself. Value wisdom over public acknowledgement. This guy Paul once wrote, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
Everyone seems to be talking about how they’re motivated by their “haters.” If that’s the case you should confuse the crap out of them by showing them love. As President Lincoln said, “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”
In the end, just make sure you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. There’s a quote on a little plaque sitting on Glenn’s desk that refocuses my perspective every time I read it. The passage pretty much summarizes our whole discussion. “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.”