Celebrities vs. Achievers

By Daria Gałązka

Many people’s lives revolve around the term “success”, but what really is that success? How many definitions does success have? Well, everyone has their own different points of view, and everyone has the right to look at it from their own perspective. Success is not something that could easily be copied, that’s for sure.

Some people may perceive success by the amount of fame they might get, numbers in their bank accounts, or how many people they might influence. On the other hand, there is also a group of people who don’t need fame to be successful. Their satisfaction, and the feeling of achieving their goal, is enough for them. Both of these groups might be labeled differently, but no one can deny their success. No matter what your goal is, or how you achieve it – if you manage to make that goal happen – you can call yourself a successful person.

Celebrities – when I think about this word, the first two things that come to mind is money and public interest. No matter what those people have achieved in their lives, the aspect of success that is always associated with this group is called public recognition, and maybe not much work went into gaining that popularity, and perhaps a questionable aim.

Kim Kardashian West is probably the best example of a modern celebrity. Personally, I do really like her, though I can’t seem to find a good enough reason to understand why she is such a huge role model to so many people. She is successful, she has one of the biggest fan bases in the world, she seems to have all any person could want – money, respect, loving family, and more. But if we wanted to retrace her career, I am not sure if we could find a more interesting event in her life than being one of the main characters in the reality TV show called Keeping Up with the Kardashians. She began her road to success from being a friend to celebrity giant Paris Hilton, then her sex tape got leaked, the reality show started in the meantime, then she got married and divorced all within 100 days, got married again to a huge musician, and now she has her own brand of make-up.

But keeping in mind how famous she is and how much she actually did to gain her fame is a bit insulting to people who work day and night to get themselves established. Of course, being in the position that she is in right now demands enormous sacrifices and a certain amount of work, but is being a reality TV show star so hard?

The second group is what I would call the “celebrity achievers”. Those people do something they absolutely love, and do it for themselves. They do it because of their passion. They do not expect any prizes or fame as a result. People might eventually appreciate and respect their efforts and become fans, not to follow those people’s private lives as in the case of a celebrity aiming just to be a celebrity, but to follow their work. In the end, if their fan base gets bigger and bigger, those achievers accidentally become celebrities, and more people who might not be focused on their work may start to follow them as well.

A very good example of this group is James Hetfield, a leader of Metallica. When he started his career, his intentions were clear – he wanted to play music with his friends and deliver it to people who had the same “vibe” as him. After years of hard work, touring around the globe and having to sacrifice his private life, he and his band became not only one of the most recognizable in the world, but also his persona attracted greater attention. As more people started to follow him, and more people started talking about his association with the band, his career skyrocketed. Whether he liked it or not, he quickly became one of the most famous people in the music industry, and to this day his status of being a celebrity has not changed much.

My last category is what we call overall achievers. These people do not care about fame, about the money or recognition; they just want to do what they love. Maybe their personalities are not the most interesting for the media, or for people outside that pop culture achiever zone of interest, but they still manage to be successful and reach their goals.

A true achiever I admire is Jonathan Davis. Even though he is a leader of the band Korn, I have not noticed much fame around him. His band achieved a lot over the last 25 years, but they have never got much recognition from the media or people who would be interested in just the so-called celebrity infatuation story. He has said many times that when he joined the band he was focused on solely expressing himself through his music. He was not interested in becoming a star. Did he achieve his goal? Absolutely. He has been playing music for over half his life. He expresses himself in his lyrics to this day. Did he become famous? Yes, Korn is one of the biggest bands out there. Did he become a celebrity? Absolutely not, at least not with any intention. He and his band have an enormous number of dedicated fans, but those fans are there for the music, not for his personality or silly things he might have done in his private life. That simply doesn’t fit in the picture. It’s the music, just the music. That art.

There are a lot of groups of successful people. I am sure the three I categorized may not be the only ones, but the point is that no matter who you want to become or what you want to gain, you can achieve it. Learning from Kim’s example is clear that you do not have to sweat blood and tears working all day long for name recognition, but you can still achieve fame and become famous. You just have to be determined, and know what you want. But, on the other hand, if your intentions are clear, you may or may not become a celebrity as well. No one really knows if there is a recipe for becoming one, but what really matters is what is in your heart, and your love for the end project.

In looking at all this, there is a very fitting quote by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing: “Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” In fact, they are always impossible, unless you push your mind into that can-do mode – can do and will do. So, whatever your goal is, whether you want that scholarship, or tonight want to cook the very best dinner ever, get to work and do it now, folks! Maybe you will become another KKW or the next James Hetfield. 🙂

Daria Gałązka is a student at Społeczna Akademia Nauk.