As part of my job I respond to e-mails from students with career-related questions. I am amazed by the number of young people who want to become singers.
I will venture a guess that the popularity of the career choice has been fueled by hit TV shows American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent and the like.
I’m all for pursuing one’s dreams. The most fulfilled and successful people are those who do what they love and love what they do.
However, I can’t help but wonder whether some of these dreams aren’t just a little artificial. Is a career that puts you in the limelight about your deepest dreams and passions? For some, it truly is about the love of singing and performing. But for others, is fame the greater factor? Being famous has become the new ideal, after all — the new stamp of approval. When you’re famous, you’ve arrived — and half the time it hardly matters how dishevelled and disorderly you do arrive.
Fifty-one per cent of 18-to-25-year-olds surveyed said that being famous was their generation’s most important or second most important life goal, according to a Pew Research Center poll from 2006.
Has our society bought into the media’s pitch that fame is the ultimate achievement? Even the porn star profession has gained greater mainstream acceptance thanks to fame’s ever-rising significance. Reality shows audition people who want to break into the adult film business. In other reality shows, cameras simply follow around porn stars in their everyday lives.
With the rise of reality television, talent shows, YouTube and social networking sites, fame seems more achievable than ever – and all without a lifetime of hard work and commitment. It seems that people can become celebrities overnight. Dancing, singing, modelling and acting are a few of the commodities that fuel the fame-making machines. The other careers don’t receive the attention and promotion. At the grocery store check-out, it’s not the faces of scientists, intellectuals or health-care workers that plaster the magazine covers.
Yet, is fame really achievable for everyone who wants it? Even if it were, how long could it possibly last? To be truly successful at something, you have to persevere. To persevere, you have to really, really want it.
To find your true calling in a celebrity-crazed culture, maybe you have to dig a little deeper. Ask yourself — what are you working on when you lose all sense of time? What did you want to be when you were really young – when you still believed anything was possible? If time, money and fear were no object, what could you see yourself doing?
Then go and pursue the dream that makes your heart sing.