Yes, he, she, they are amazing, awesome, the finest, the most, the greatest; best in world or at least in your world. You are hooked, hysterical; obsessed – your knees go weak, your heart jumps pumps – you crave your next fix of him, her or them. It’s wonderful to feel inspired by others, it’s a privilege and an honour to enjoy the phenomena of human achievements; the pinnacle of human potential. The artist who leaves you dumbstruck, the musician or singer who stops your thoughts, the actor or actress that captivates, the friend who surprises you with raw skill and talent, perhaps dormant, buried, then birthed, like a blooming flower shining forth its colours. Crash, bang, calamity and shock; guess what? They are human. That idol, your vision of seeming perfection, is actually normal and no different to you or I. A human, exceptional maybe, gifted yes, genius perhaps, yet nothing other than flesh and blood with all the requirements of the other 7 billion on the planet.
There is something humbling and reassuring to know your idol has thoughts and feelings, fears and insecurities exactly like you. A person, with desires and loves, needs and wants, wishes and wonderings. An ordinary soul housed within an extraordinary persona. Or an extraordinary soul housed within an ordinary persona – the mirror of the normality of unique talent – unique is normal. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel star struck by a legend you look up to. Yet, beneath and beyond fame and notoriety there is a simple human being. When is a celebrity not a celebrity? When they are themselves. Beneath the clouds of hysteria and the writhing fans the one up on stage could easily be the one standing next to you. You, in turn, could potentially be that ‘one’ on stage whatever your platform may be.
Would you recognise your idol, who you believe to be a ‘star’, if they were stood right next to you without the facade you normally associate them with? Imagine you sat in a restaurant and it were filled with celebrities disguised so as not to be recognised. Imagine discovering later that you had rubbed shoulders with the famous unknowingly! What might you have done differently? Would you curse a missed opportunity to talk to a roomful of famous faces? Or would you have done the opposite and let them be without interfering? An odd scenario and an imaginary dream, yet the room would have been a room of human bodies whether they were well-known people or not. Perhaps we are all a star to someone? We tend to think in terms of the ‘human’ being an idol – yet really the truth is the ‘idol’ is a human.
If you could meet ten famous people who might you choose? What might you ask them? Which legends from the past would you love to meet if time travel were possible? Would your questions be different to those you might ask someone you know or perhaps a total stranger in the street? If you have met someone famous in the past what is more important to you – the fond memory or the desire to tell others? It’s wonderful to appreciate and admire others yet I think it’s also grounding to remember ‘the idol is a human’.
The central image of this mindmap was inspired by a suggestion someone once gave me that if others make you feel inferior to them, imagine they are on the toilet! In other words – not much different to you!