3 MINUTE MONDAY
I’ve been thinking a lot about fame recently.
Why people want it.
What fame is useful for.
And how it is achieved.
If the 19th century was the industrial revolution, the 21st century is the fame revolution.
A study in 2007 found that the #1 value for kids was fame.
In 1967 it was community.
In 2018, more people applied to be on Love Island than applied to Oxford & Cambridge Universities combined.
It’s not that surprising I guess.
Social media has objectively quantified social status.
It’s weaponised notoriety.
So, why wouldn’t you want the adoration of all those around you?
Social renown, millions of followers online, unlimited free charcoal toothpaste.
You know, all the big stuff.
What’s not to like?
The problem is what fame now represents.
Traditionally, people became famous because they did something.
Something great or heroic or terrible.
They invented a new lightbulb, fought a war, wrote a novel, committed a mass murder.
Fame was seen as a signal that identified people worthy of being aware of.
“This person has done something of worth. They DESERVE to be known because of what they have done.”
In 2020, the direction of fame has been reversed.
People don’t want to do something that deserves fame.
They just want to BE famous.
Shortcut the how, just give me the what.
They now desire fame by any means.
And the quicker and easier the route there, the better.
Look at Tommy Fury from Love Island UK 2019.
A boxer who had worked for years and years on his craft to become a pro.
What catapulted him to fame?
Was it his hours in the gym? A highlight reel knockout?
Spending 6 weeks in a villa.
He wasn’t made famous for what he did, only for who he was.
Children today desire fame over anything else.
And they’re taught that the route to fame is not through hard work, unique creativity or compounding effectiveness.
But to simply be in the right place at the right time.
And it should be achieved as quickly and conveniently as possible.
This obligation-free status is as addicting as any drug.
But the paradox here is obvious.
If anyone can become instantly famous for doing nothing, then fame becomes increasingly fleeting and meaningless.
Which undermines the purpose of fame in the first place.
My hope is that we’ve passed peak-transactionality in the fame market.
I think this seems likely.
More & more people are being turned off by the classic flexing lifestyle on social media.
Counter cultures are moving toward virtuous, long-term thinkers like Naval Ravikant, Elon Musk & Eric Weinstein.
Instagram removing the Like Counter helps the user to focus on the value of the content (what people DO) rather than it’s popularity (who they ARE).
If you want to become truly famous, aim to do something you love which you could become the best in the world at.
And grind away on it for a decade.
Notoriety which comes easily, goes easily.
So the longer you spend building it, the harder it is to knock down.
After a decade, if the fame comes, congratulations.
And if not, you’ve spent your time doing something you love.
That’s not a bad second place trophy.
This week’s upcoming episodes:
Eric Jorgenson – the creator of the Alamanac of Naval Ravikant takes us through the best insights from one of the most insightful minds of our time. Do not miss this.
Ryan Holiday – Mr Stoicism himself joins me to discuss his new book and dissect the wisdom we can learn from the lives of the ancient Athenians & Romans.
Not sure yet. Maybe Poker Pro Annie Duke on how to make better decisions. Maybe Mara Cortona one on existential threats to humanity.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED
“Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe” — Mark Twain
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Genetic genealogy can solve murders
Sites like 23&Me and Ancestry.com are being subpoenaed to open their records to law enforcement in relation to unsolved murders.
The technique relies on the simple principle that, if you go back far enough in history, everyone is related and therefore has thousands of relatives.
Assuming that an average family has 2 to 3 kids, then a typical person would — statistically speaking — have nearly 200 third cousins, 950 fourth cousins and 4,700 fifth cousins.
If a genealogist can find a cousin of an unknown suspect who has left behind DNA at a crime scene, then they can use old school family trees to track down the perp.
That’s how the Golden State Killer and about 70 other suspects behind brutal cold cases including rapes, murders and assaults have been caught since April 2018.
There’s obviously huge implications for people’s legal & DNA Privacy.
A very interesting area to watch over the coming years.
The Red Rising book series just gets better as it goes on.
I finished the third book this week and it’s outstanding.
Honestly, everyone who I’ve recommended this series to has become fully addicted – so you have been warned.
If you need a new fiction read, go get it.
Buy a Kindle Paperwhite
4 years ago, I wanted to read more.
Buying a Paperwhite was one of the best hacks for making reading more convenient & frictionless.
Paperwhites are around £100, can store thousands of books, automatically sync with your Amazon purchases & Goodreads account and even allow you to export your book highlights so you can retain what you read more effectively.
You can view them in the sun easily, they’re light, the charge lasts for weeks on end and the light does not affect your melatonin release at night the same way as smartphone screens or TVs.
The newest ones even support Audible Subscription so you can use them as an audiobook player too.
Go get one.
Shout out to Kyle Eschenroeder for red pilling me on fame this year. His podcast episode on What Do You Want To Want was phenomenal.