I’ve never been one to idolize celebrities. TV & movie stars, recording artists and other famous people are just people like everyone else. But I think it’s healthy to idolize, or at least admire, some people. It all comes down to the reasons.
As I was reading Darren Rowse’s post about a loving fan that virtually attacked him at Blogworld, I realized there’s nothing wrong with having heroes.
I’ll tell you right now that I practically stalk Chris Brogan (he even said so in my signed copy of Trust Agents). I’d drive half a day or fly halfway across the country to hear him speak. Is it because he’s a web celebrity? Because he has 100,000 followers? Because he’s a “social media expert”? No, it’s because he went out of his way to be a friend to me, for no other reason than he is a good person who truly wants to help people.
I’d drive my car coast to coast to be able to spend a few hours with Stephen Covey. His philosophy and book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” literally changed the course of my life. I read his book over ten years ago when I was 18, and it completely changed my outlook on life and priorities.
It’s not just people in this industry either… My biggest hero of all time was my grandfather. When I was a young boy I spent the summers with him and worked in his body shop for $1/day (which wasn’t even decent money way back then!). He was so much more concerned with helping people than with making money. I vividly remember one time when a single mother wrecked her car–her only method of transportation. She didn’t have the money to repair the car, so my grandfather paid for the parts and fixed her car. Free of charge. He told her she could pay him back when she had the money (which he never expected, he just didn’t want her to feel like she was getting a hand-out). I admire his strength of character, his compassion. He was never rich or famous… but he was my hero.
Don’t idolize people because they pretend on camera for a living. Don’t idolize singers because they’re the next pop superstar. Don’t idolize people because they’re popular or rich, idolize them because they help people or do something worthwhile with their life. If you’re going to admire someone, if you’re going to have a hero, make sure you pick them for the right reasons.