But what is it that’s driving this? What’s driving this is, in a media world (we clearly live in a media world) is a desire to be heard, a desire to be known, a desire to be seen! That all boils down to a desire for fame.Now, we’ve always had this in our culture and has been typified by Andy Warhol’s ‘everybody gets their 15 minutes of fame’ at one point. But that was not something said that complimentary way. He meant everybody is going to make a fool of themselves one of these days and we’re all going to know it. It’s good if it only happens once for 15 minutes. When you make your life’s mission to have everybody know everything about you, you are missing the key ingredient of motivation or success. Now, I know what you’re saying, some of you young people: ‘What about you? What about you? You’re famous.’ Yeah, but that was never my objective. I don’t have any regrets, but I’ll tell you, I would trade it in a minute, but I can’t. But I would gladly get rid of all of this fame. Unfortunately, I can’t for a whole host of reasons. Number one, I’m in the show biz business. But the fame aspect had nothing to do with getting into this. There are all kinds of motivational ploys that people use. Some are good and some are bad. I myself have been fired in this business seven or eight times, and there was one time that I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to show these people.’ Wrong motivation. There was one time in my life where I didn’t have any money, and I was surrounded by people who had gobs of it, and it made me feel…. (tapping fingers on the desk) What was it? Well, not one of the gang.So I became focused on earning money. I was miserable. Fortunately, that only lasted for a year, or maybe two. But if you want fame like Billy in Denton, Texas, said — and I think a lot of young people do, which is one of the troubling things about this New Media, that everybody can get a little bit of it whenever they want it, within some sort of limited audience. It is not really fame if fellow MySpacers know who you are. It’s contained within that universe, but what have you done other than put yourself out there? Have you accomplished anything to get that fame? Have you achieved anything? Is anything about your life noteworthy other than what you’ve had to tell people, or has what you’ve done gone beyond your telling people and people realize it? The key for genuine happiness is to set high expectations for yourself in terms of work and achievement and then go meet them, and possibly exceed them, and then all these other ancillary things that you think you want will fall in place. They’ll happen, if the achievement part takes place. I remember when I wanted to get into radio when I was 12. My motivation was I hated school. I despised it. To me it was prison, and I would get up every morning with my brother and my mother would be fixing breakfast, and she had the radio on.The guy on the radio was having fun, and I knew he wasn’t in prison, and I knew when he finished his shift at nine or ten o’clock, he might have another job to go to, but he wasn’t going to go to school. He was running his life. When I was 12, I wanted to run my life. I didn’t want to have to be told by a bunch of people, ‘You have to sit in this room and listen to this stupid lecture on the thousand minor characters of Shakespeare,’ which I know I’m never going to use the rest of my life. ‘But what about a rounded education?’ I think my education is pretty rounded. I took care of it myself, and I paid attention in class. I got okay grades in some places, but I hated it. But when I finally got into radio when I was 16, the only thing that drove me was doing it as well as I could, just being the best I could be at it, and that’s what drove me. It kept me going through getting fired all these seven or eight times, and we’ve all been fired. People that amount to anything have been fired. All of us who have been fired have all been told by some boss who fired us that we’re no good, that we don’t have what it takes. What sustains you through that? Your self-knowledge that you are good; self-knowledge that you can do it; self-knowledge that you can excel at it. Not to prove ’em wrong. It’s because of your love for what you do, and you’re not going to let somebody who fires you, who tells you you’re not good or don’t have what it takes, ruin your dream.
Now, naturally, you have to have the dream, and you have to have the love. You have to find out what it is that you love doing, and then go for it — and if you do that, you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, I’ll take that back. There will be drudgery days, but for the most part, doing what you love will never be talked of as work. You’ll say, ‘Yeah, I gotta go to work today.’ You’ll want to! You’ll want to go to work, and you won’t look at it as work. It’s where you go to be the best you can be. We all have problems at work. We all have coworkers and people that are going to snipe at us when we succeed and get on the success track. They’re going to be jealous, but, hell, that’s part of life. There’s nothing new about that. You learn to deal with all these kind of things, but you can’t set that out as your primary goal. With money you can, and you might even achieve it. If you want fame, and if you want to be heard, noticed, or seen, you might be able to do it and pull it off. But I will guarantee you you’re going to miserable, because then your whole existence is dependent on that kind of feedback, because fame and notoriety are the result of things happening to you from others, and they can leave you as quickly as they found you, and then where you are? If you’ve got no foundation or substance that has generated the notice, the achievement, the fame that people claim that they want, then you’ve got nothing to fall back on.
This is why I said last week, and I forget what this was about, but media was taking out after somebody, and it was relentless, and I said, ‘This person’s in trouble because the media did make them. Their achievement has not made them,’ and if the media, for example — if other people can make you in the sense of providing you notoriety and fame, then they can also destroy you, and you don’t want to give people that kind of power. You don’t want to give people on the one hand love you in the moment and make you famous and so forth, that kind of power. You know how fickle people can be, then down the road, if they don’t care about you, then you’re not famous anymore and you don’t have any notoriety — unless you’ve got a foundation. So the motivation for anything work-related in life, ought to be, A, finding out what it is you love, be honest about it, and then go do it, and if you can’t find anybody to pay you to do it, find a way to get paid doing it, to pay yourself. You know, a lot of people are doing their hobbies, and that’s what they love. I’ll bet a lot of you in this audience wish you could find a way to be paid to do your hobby, because your job is simply something you have to do in order to have money and time for your hobby and for other responsibilities in life that you have. So it really is a gift, if you know early on what you want to do and if you have a genuine passion for it, because that’s what drives people who are really good at what they do. It is that desire alone, to do it better, and better, and better — and if it ends up being done better than anybody else has ever done it, then you’re in Fat City, in all kinds of ways.
But, most importantly, the self-satisfaction and the inner glow of success and achievement, nobody can take that away from you when it’s real. But they can take it away from you if it’s phony and artificial. If it’s based on you just want to be famous, there are ways to do that, but they’re not going to last long. I know a lot of people like this, by the way. I’m not going to mention any names, but I know a lot of people who are simply obsessed with fame. I hear from them now and then. It makes me sad, because I know they’re unhappy. They’re miserable. They’re doing great work. But because others haven’t noticed it yet, they’re running around feeling miserable. Or maybe they’re doing great things and others are getting the credit for it, and they’re running around being miserable because they’re not being noticed or given the proper credit. If your happiness is going to be defined by the feedback you get from others, if your happiness and success is going to be determined by making sure that others are willing to accord you the status that you want, then you’re always going to be miserable. Because even when you get the fame without any substance, even if that’s what you want, then you’re going to be focused on keeping it, and nobody is going to want to be around you, because you’re only going to be thinking about yourself.
You’re only going to want to talk about yourself when you’re with other people. You’re only going to want to share your own tales of woe. Nobody wants to hear that. When you have your own achievements, then you have confidence, you don’t need for other people to know it, or feel it, or whatever because it ought to be self-sustaining enough. Besides, all that stuff will happen: all the ancillaries, the feedback of the success, the feedback, the notoriety, the fame, that will accrue if you’re in a business where those kinds of things are happening, and there are a lot of businesses where fame does accrue to somebody, wouldn’t consider it to be a business of true fame. It is all based in those people’s cases on their genuine achievement. So motivation is key. But I’ve been concerned for people that are young over this quest to just put every aspect of their lives up on various websites on the Internet, because what it does say is, ‘Notice me! Notice me! Notice me!’ But notice you for what? Notice you for just being who you are? Well, fine and dandy, but there’s no achievement behind it. It’s no achievement to put all your data up on some website and have other people read it, especially when they don’t know you.
You can lie about yourself and what a great person you are, all these achievements you’ve had, but who else knows it besides you and the others reading it and who knows whether they believe it? So it just bothers me in the sense that it’s not a healthy motivation for people to have. Since I care about young people, it really bothered me with Billy in Denton, Texas. He’s in a blue funk today he said because of the news, and all I would say to you about that is, especially young people who don’t have the historical perspective — because, with all people, our historical perspective begins the day we were born, and things that happened prior to our birth are not as important to us. We’re not being taught about them very much, so that causes us to think more, and more, and more about ourselves. But I’ll tell you this. (This goes for any and all of you, not just the young people in this massive audience.) Do not let the never-ending drumbeat of catastrophe, apocalypse, doom and gloom that is on virtually every media outlet, and in way too many movies. Don’t let that affect you.
You are an American. You live in the United States of America. You live in the most prosperous country the human race has ever produced and known. You have no reason to participate in this doom and gloom and apocalypse. Because, for everybody who’s participating in it, take a look out there at all the people who aren’t and ask yourself, ‘Why aren’t they affected? How come some people are happy here? How come they’re doing well?’ Because they’re doing what they love, because they have confidence, and because they know the opportunities that exist in this country and they’re out there trying to access as many as possible, rather than getting depressed over what a bunch of stupid idiot socialist liberals in the media are doing and saying and trying to make you feel rotten. Don’t give them that kind of power.