Fame is a terrible master.
There are some who will do anything to achieve fame—just watch any number of reality television shows. And there are others who will do everything they can to stay out of the spotlight entirely.
In its most simple definition, famous means to be widely known.
Of course, fame, just like wealth, is entirely relative. “Widely” can mean lots of different things:
After all, there is world-famous, internet-famous, and barely-famous. Hollywood has A-List, B-List, C-List, and even D-List.
There are people who are famous in your industry, famous in your town, or famous in your church. One time, I was even introduced to a man behind his grill as, “the man who is famous for his BBQ grilled chicken.” As best I could tell, he’s only cooked for his immediate family.
“Fame” clearly means something different to different people.
To be famous is to be known for something among a group of people.
Given that understanding, might I suggest we all aim for fame.
Not fame for wrong reasons, but fame for all the right reasons.
The reality is we are all going to be remembered for something—that cannot be avoided. So we might as well aim to be known, among those who know us best, for all the right reasons.
12 things we should all strive to become famous for:
1. Kindness. I have a good friend that I once introduced to a neighbor. Shortly after their first meeting, my neighbor said to me, “Bob may be the kindest man I have ever met in my entire life.” What an amazing compliment. Kindness… that is something I want to be known for.
2. Generosity. Many are drawn to riches, but few are drawn to generosity. But generosity makes our world a better place. It improves the life of the receiver and the giver. And yet, it is still too rare in our world today.
3. Perseverance. At some point, everybody gets knocked down by life. Staying upright through it all is not the final measure of a person. Getting back up and remaining persistent in the face of trial, that is perseverance. Now that is a trait worth being known for!
4. Faithfulness. To be known at the end of my life for being faithful to my wife, my kids, and my obligations is among my loftiest pursuits. I may be known for many things, but I’d trade them all to keep this reputation.
5. Empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. And being known for empathy lays the foundation for countless good deeds in the lives of others.
6. Intentionality. Our lives and resources are limited. To be intentional with our time, our money, and our responsibilities is an important pursuit. And those who discover it are highly regarded.
7. Cheerfulness. If you are known as the person who lights up a room and spreads genuine joy wherever you go, you have reached an important level of fame.
8. Selfless. There is more than one way to achieve many of the items on this list (kind, empathetic, generous)—some may even be achieved for selfish gain. But the only way to be known for selflessness, in the long run, is to be genuinely selfless.
9. Encouraging. An encourager, by default, cheers for the other person. They are not interested in winning at every cost. Quite the opposite in fact. They want to see everyone win and work toward that end. As a result, they are beloved by many.
10. Contentment. A contented life is enjoyable, desirable, and admirable. Those who don’t have it, desire it. And are impressed with those who do have achieved it.
11. Peacemaking. If we need anything in this world today, we need more peacemakers. Blessed are you if you become one.
12. Loving. As the old saying goes, “but the greatest of these is love.” Become famous for loving others and you’ll never regret it.
Fame, as defined by society, is fleeting. It is a terrible master.
But there is still the reality that when our lives are over, we will be remembered for something. So make it something worth being famous for.