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High Self-Esteem and Expectations

John W. Pinkerton


Andy Warhol placed the phrase, “fifteen minutes of fame,” into the public consciousness in 1968.    Because we now live in the information age---movies, television, telephone, radio, the internet---it is a concept which has met its enablers.   Folks have begun to expect as a right of birth their own fifteen minutes of fame.

I suppose when I was just a kid, I probably wanted fame.  It is probable that every child thinks he or she is special for at least fifteen minutes and wants the world to know about  them.  However, when I was growing up, the time limit on thinking that we were special was about, well…fifteen minutes.  I must have dismissed the idea pretty quickly because it rings no bells.

The push to raise children’s self-esteem has worked amazingly well.  Now every jerk in the world thinks he or she is special…and they never get over it…even when some are sitting behind jail bars.

And another thing, what’s all this expectations crap?  Expectations?  We didn’t have any expectations when we were growing up.  We just showed up, started down a path, and hoped for the best.

I’m not angry at these folks who have unrealistic levels of self-esteem and expectations.  I do, however, feel a little sorry for them.  Of course they’re disappointed by life.  Wouldn’t you be if you knew you have a halo around your head which only you can see, yet no one decides that you will become the next rock star or next sports icon? Heck, you were cheated.  You were robbed…get over yourself.

To achieve anything worthwhile in life, work, study, determination, and a little integrity might help.  High self-esteem and unrealistic expectations  won’t even purchase a cup of coffee or latte, whatever folks drink now.

From my own life experiences, I have met many unknown but brilliant people.  Some have minds as brilliant as the celebrated thinkers of our time, as talented as the most celebrated, and I have yet to meet one who regrets that his or her life is not celebrated by the collective.  On the other hand, I’ve also met some of the most muddle-headed thinkers, most untalented folks who ever drew a breath of God’s air.   Among these knuckleheads you’ll find a good number of individuals who hate that they are not recognized by the broad world. I try to avoid these folks, but there are so many of them that it’s darned near impossible not to stumble across them.

I don’t know how fame ever got to be a goal in the first place.  What’s it worth?  Truman Capote said, “Fame is only good for one thing---they will cash your check in a small town.”

Of course, there is the flip side of fame---infamy.  Some, seeing that fame might be a bit of a task to achieve, have opted for infamy: John Hinkley, Lee Harvey Oswald, Charles Manson, “Squeaky” Fromme. Well…you got our attention, but I don’t think you’ll be able to cash a check in a small town.

Then there are the few who have achieved both fame and infamy: step forward Mr. Orenthal James Simpson.  Mindy Kaling, actress and author, stated, “It would be great to be so famous that if I murder someone, I will never, ever, ever serve any jail time, even if it’s totally obvious to everyone that I did it.”  Congratulations, O.J.  What a guy!