Fame & Fortune And Why They Don't Matter!

by DavalosMcCormack on May 15, 2009

Every once in a while I like to watch Entertainment Tonight or Extra or any of those other glossy TV magazine shows that follow the lives and loves of the famous and wanna-be-famous. I am always amazed at how few of the people they talk about are people I have ever heard of.

Now, I read the newspaper every day, read several online, listen to the radio and even sometimes watch TV news, so I think I’m pretty well informed on who is who in American life.

Except when it comes to the things that really matter apparently; namely I know almost nothing about the people who are famous for being famous.

That’s why I took particular pleasure in reading a new study that says those people are heading for “a psychological dead end.”Now, those are not my words. No, they come from researchers at the University of Rochester who just published a study showing that having loads of money, good looks and being the envy of many won’t necessarily make you happy. In fact, they say, the odds are they could make you much less happy.

The study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, followed 147 people from two universities for a couple of years after graduation. They used a series of psychological surveys to measure their satisfaction with their life, self-esteem, anxiety, physical signs of stress and their experiences of both positive and negative emotions.

What they found was that the more committed an individual was to a particular goal the more likely they were to succeed at it. However, if that goal was a material one – such as earning lots of money, or becoming famous – then the person was much less likely to feel happy and satisfied compared to someone whose goals were focused on personal growth, close relationships and community development.

This is a lesson we need to start teaching in schools, and reinforcing at home. A study last year of British school children found that the cult of celebrity was distorting children’s sense of what mattered or was important.

In fact 37 percent of teachers surveyed said they think many of their students want to be famous for being famous. In other words, they don’t really care how they become famous – and don’t actually want to do any of the work that is traditionally associated with becoming famous, such as writing books or songs or learning a craft such as acting – they just want to be on the telly and be recognized everywhere they go.

With no sense of values to guide them it’s no wonder they don’t want to stay in school and study hard. Why should they when their role models are people they see on the TV who are famous and rich and get special treatment wherever they go but who haven’t done anything to merit it.

If we don’t do something we’ll turn into a nation of.. well.. see that’s the problem. I don’t know any names of people who are famous for being famous so I can’t identify one.

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