The Silicon Valley-based priest lamented, “the high-tech boom usurped my parishioners. They have so much money now that they don’t see a need for God in their lives.” Soon after, I came across a sought-after movie director/producer. Then I learned of a young doctor in Singapore, and a brilliant engineer in Detroit. Triangulating perspectives developed a compelling narrative which fits the modern life but is told in old villages thousands of years old.
Pride kills rise of countless people. It invites envy, confrontation, and dislike. Most of all it consumes your energy. If you are not proud, you are not expending energy to project your ego. The question is deeper than just a surface statement. What to be proud of? The genius of curing patients where they think of you as God; the magic of engineering genius where consumers marvel at your innovation; or the magnificent acting of superstar actors that stirs the soul in bliss or pain. The answer can be found in many champions and superstars life stories.
I asked my movie producer friend the most successful movie stars and their reputation for being humble. He said this was true. Why is this so, I asked. They have the adulation of a billion people, more money than what their ten generations will need, more homes and farms than even they can keep track of, and more offers of work than they are interested in touching. They are busy turning down offers for work because they don’t need the money, and they are refusing gifts of toys like luxury cars and helicopters because they already have more than what they can possibly use. How come these heroes and heroines are not lusting and strutting in their own pride?
The brilliant and wise producer pointed out the difference between stars and superstars. Why some ordinary people become superstars and why some talented stars never reach the superstardom stature.
The talented stars know that they are talented. They know that they are in demand and producers want them for that reason. They have many scripts coming their way. Early on in their careers, they have a choice. Be proud and act proud because their talent entitles them such a privilege. Those who can and do live in the glory of their superior skills manifest it in many ways. They are late to the shooting, they are not prepared, they don’t treat the crew with respect, their demands are extraordinary, and they are abusive on the sets and off the sets.
Most of these talented stars fail to rise to their potential. Other actors refuse to be paired with them. Cameramen and crew don’t go out of their way to be helpful. Industry professionals don’t give them good press. They are not respected at gala ceremonies and star gatherings. Mostly they earn dislike and gradually find themselves sidelined. Their pride cuts them off from reaching their full potential.
On the other hand, ordinary stars, who know that they need to develop their skills work hard, are respectful for every opportunity, show up punctually, mentor and inspire the crew they work with and are approachable, find that the directors and producers engage them more and more and gradually, they exceed in both skill and popularity, even the stars who have innate talent but are sidelined for bad behavior.
Many of these and also the talented stars who do become superstars embrace a reality early in their careers, or somewhere along the way. They realize that no matter how impressive their talent, there are others with more, but the others are not as successful. No matter how handsome they are, there are others who are better looking but not so well liked. No matter how deep and impressive their voice, there are others who don’t have the public’s embrace. And they realize that what they have, money, looks, voice, and popularity has little to do with their own doing. Something or someone bigger than humans has blessed them with it. They got the right breaks, were fortunate to have the right learning opportunities, they were blessed that the right mentors walked in at the right time too. If they are blessed with these gifts for doing little to deserve them, they can just as easily be taken away.
When a no-body becomes a star, the options start to appear. The choices the star makes can make the star a superstar or stall the career, or even revert it into obscurity.
The superstars are humble, punctual, respectful, and professional. They are extraordinarily talented and they are mentors. They lift all because they know that someone or something has lifted them up too. They are good and they attract goodness.
The heartbreaking reality hits when you see the stars fall out of the sky. A young superstar doctor who lived a life of a car-racing enthusiast in the company of supermodels and owned many properties had cancer and died in three years. A serial entrepreneur engineer’s only son died in a freak accident.
If competition or jealousy does not derail the arrogant, God can fell the best of them. In humility, not just humanity but also the universe lends a helping hand. The old villages tell of these values to keep the young mindful that the best of lives are lived in service. Some of this old wisdom is lost on our new world.
Holidays are a good reminder that doing good is what life is all about.