Being great (and the fame that goes with it)

Marvel Comics legend, Stan Lee, is going to be at this year’s Emerald City Comic Con.

Seeing or meeting celebrities, or well-known figures, has never really been that exciting to me. For whatever reason, I’ve always had what I feel to be good perspective on them. They’re just people who were noticed doing something meaningful to a larger number of people. (Except for Kim Kardashian… I’m still trying to figure out how anyone noticed her.)

I asked my daughter if she wanted to go and try and meet him. She very excitedly said “yes.”

In the few occasions my daughter has been around famous people, she seemed a bit overwhelmed by it all; the idea that she is actually near or meeting this well-known famous  person.

But if you think about it, what is fame? Everyone is capable of doing great things, and I would say most do. But I think fame is just a matter of scale.

If you live your life by consistently doing great, kind, thoughtful, creative or caring things for just one or a small number of people (or sometimes even just for yourself), you’re not likely to become nationally or internationally famous. But you will be famous to the one, or few, people touched by your actions.

If you create a line of books, or characters, like Stan Lee and Marvel Comics, and it’s only read by a few people, your fame will be limited. But if they talk about it and share it, your fame will grow.

But is it the breadth of fame that’s important? Or is it the depth?

Just like the saying, “the true test of one’s character is what they do when no one’s looking,” if you are motivated by being true to yourself and doing what you think is right simply because it’s right, fame may elude you. But fame should never be the goal.

People like Stan Lee saw something missing and decided they wanted to fill the gap. He saw a world with stories of heroic men and women with no human flaws. He decided to create characters that were both heroic and flawed, making them like you and me.

And now, years later, he’s famous.

My goal is to ensure that my daughter realizes that the men and women who volunteer to tutor her schoolmates during the day are just as famous in that school as Stan Lee is around the world. Possibly more so.

Fame is simply something that scales. But the level of fame does not equate to the measure of greatness for the famous.



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