Remember when former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, announced they were separating after 25 years of marriage. At the time of the announcement there was no mention of any particular reason, and it was just sad to see them give up. Schwarzenegger had just left the Governor’s office four months earlier and the couple had recently celebrated a silver anniversary. About a week after the separation, the news media revealed that Schwarzenegger had admitted to an extra-marital affair that resulted in the birth of a child. Apparently the woman was on staff at the Governor’s home and the incident and birth had occurred more than 10 years earlier. Now the separation was starting to make some sense. A year later Schwarzenegger released a book about the whole ordeal making his family essentially live through it all over again.
When you’re in the limelight, you literally can’t see more than a foot or two in front of you. I know because when I speak, I’m often under a bright, hot light for more than an hour. It’s difficult to
actually see faces in the audiences. Figuratively, I think that illusive limelight, that everyone is chasing, can blind you from seeing the truth about yourself.
Celebrities deal with this all the time. They begin to think that circle of light is protecting them when I think it confuses them to the point where they can’t distinguish right from wrong. Eventually the light will expose them in ways that are not flattering. What happens is that once shining ray, intended to make a person look good, starts to turn and cast a bad shadow. There are so many celebrities, whether athletes, politicians, or movie stars who have faded under this brightness, there isn’t enough room to name them all.
Even knowing this information, people continue to chase the limelight. Just look at the popularity of reality shows. Everyone is looking to be on the cover of People magazine, win a Grammy, or snag an Oscar and you have to wonder why when that lifestyle doesn’t appear to be so glamorous.
That’s why I think it’s important to live contently or put another way— live simply. To remind myself of this mantra, I have the word “simplify” carved out of wood. It sits on the table next to my bed so that every time I get up I see it there.
Instead of looking for ways to be in the spotlight, light the spot you’re in with who you are as a spouse, parent, sibling, aunt or uncle—shine in those roles and you will surely capture the hearts of those in your circle of influence. Whether your audience is one or one hundred, you can be a star by the way you conduct your life.
Think of the people you know or even don’t know, that you respect. Are they celebrities? You may have a favorite singer, author, or athlete but do you respect their behaviors, opinions, or attitude or do you simply appreciate their talent? I know some of the people I respect the most aren’t on TV. Their names don’t roll with the credits at the end of a movie. They are simply the folks living in my hometown that I see at the grocery store or at school picking up their kids. They are people I know who are working hard in their marriages and families, living within their means, and setting a good example for their children.
Stop chasing the limelight of fame and instead pursue shining the spotlight on your marriage and family.