Wednesday, 20 August 2014

What to do when you meet someone famous.

Fame. Infamy. Celebrity. Many people crave these things like air, but I wonder what it would actually be like to be so recognisable that complete strangers think they know you. If your fame is over, then how do you reinvent yourself while the rest of the world sits on the sidelines reacting to you in accordance with their view of who you are and what you're capable of?

I had an encounter today which caused me to ponder these things. (I'm not going to reveal who this person is out of respect and professionalism.) I was playing a character and only interacted with this person while I was in character. I knew the identity of the person I was to work with beforehand so it wasn't a complete shock when I walked in, but there was still that strange moment of recognition. It felt like I knew this person and then remembered the truth. 

The work we were doing together was very far from the field in which this person had achieved their fame; this may have made it easier to forget about who they "had been". 

That idea of "had been" crossed my mind and I thought about how awful it would be to have to fight against an outmoded image of yourself. Reinvention - or even just progress - can be challenging for ordinary people. I can only imagine what it must be like when the world has you boxed into a particular place in that world.

During our encounter, nothing was mentioned of the old world. What a relief that must be!

The bigger lesson from today's experience was a reminder about meeting people as they are, with no preconceived ideas. Being present, interacting in the moment and responding according to how they are today is a good thing to do with anyone.  A deep level of authenticity and honesty is possible if both people in the conversation are doing this.

I'm pleased to have had the opportunity I had today. My only regret was that I didn't have the opportunity to engage with this impressive person as myself. Truthfully, I may have been a little bit star struck when it was all over.

What did you learn today? Who did you meet today?

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