I admit I like watching "American Idol." There you get to see young talent given a shot to shine, talent that is almost there, and people you have to wonder why they thought they had talent. Of course, I'm in no position to talk about singing talent, but even I know when people are not going to make it.
That leads me to the topic of this blog entry. At one point or another, we've all deluded ourselves into thinking we are better than we are at something. It's a defense mechanism for our egos, but it has a tendancy to blind us to reality. Then, when someone tells us that we were subpar, one of two things will happen: 1) the delusions will continue, even stronger than before, or 2) there will be a huge emotional crush where the victim comes to grips with the facts. More often than not, though, the former is what happens because we're afraid to admit we're not good at something, and the trend continues.
Ego is a funny thing. Those who have a lot of it can be some of the most emotionally fragile people out there when it comes to criticism. Just look at John Kerry. Those who don't have a lot of it can also be emotionally fragile, but not in the way the egotist is. Either way, it can be both fun and sad to watch people handle their failures.
Some people ask me why I'm so humble. I chalk a lot of it up to my parents for teaching me it's okay to be proud of your accomplishments, but it's not okay to believe your accomplishments make you better than anyone else. After all, there will always be someone out there who might be able to do what you do better than you can do it.
Another reason is because I understand that what I do isn't all that special in the grand scheme of things. I write columns that entertain and inform. Big deal. There are thousands upon thousands of people who do what I do, and I'm pretty sure some of them are better than I am. I'm proud of what I do to an extent, but I never stop thinking that I can be better. That's the difference between someone who thinks he or she is a superstar right now and someone who will become a superstar in time.
Plus, it's a great way to keep yourself grounded. So many people out there lose sight of who they really are once they get sucked up by even modest fame. I don't ever want to be like that. If I get a little recognition for what I do, I'm happy. If I get a lot, I'll be happy so long as I don't stop being me. If I never get recognized for my writing, no biggie. I don't write to make a name for myself; I write because I love to do it. And if others enjoy my writing as much as I love to write, all the better. As long as I keep the creative juices flowing without them making me drunk with ego, I'll be fine no matter what happens.