Let’s say, in the years to come you become a viral sensation on YouTube, or your app takes off and you are the envy of Silicon Valley. If such an occasion arrives, you’ll immediately be thrown into an gambit of new rules. Suddenly, you’re a success story and everyone wants to understand you and how you did it. If such a time occurs, consider this very simple question: “What would Alec Baldwin do?” Because although he is an internationally-beloved actor, he is a case study in how NOT to handle success.
If you are playing a game on your phone while on a flight and the stewardess asks you to stow the phone so the plane can take off, DO NOT make a scene. DO NOT act wounded and annoyed. DO NOT start throwing around the sad, tired, “Do you know who I am?” argument. When the plane has landed, NO NOT lambast the airline you flew on social media. You could have just turned off your phone…
If, while you are strolling the scenic streets of New York with your wife and newborn child, paparazzi will most likely start following you and aggressively taking pictures. It’s their profession, after all. This is a golden opportunity to NOT shout obscenities at them, to NOT call them homophobic slurs. That makes sense, right?
If, on another crisp New York day, you find yourself riding your bicycle the wrong way on a city street and a police officer flags you down and tickets you, we’d like to encourage you to NOT get belligerent with the officer and ultimately NOT get arrested. Talk about turning an ant hill into a Himalayan mountain.
If you’re one of the lucky ones, if life sees fit to bestow upon you even the smallest inkling of success and prosperity, DO NOT become an Alec Baldwain. A blundering, chauvinistic basket-case of insecurity, waylaying everyone in your path with obtuse egotistical tirades.
One of the misguided and misbegotten conceptions of celebrity is the belief that those on the stage and screen are simply above the law. But that type of credo is like painting a target on your back. The world is more full than ever with people who are ready and willing to remind you that despite your looks, your fame, your bank account and your toys, you are one of us. You are among us. And small gestures of thoughtful humility are how we all got by, including you.