I'm reading the Steve Jobs biography and while it is quite long it is keeping my attention. And when I use the word read know that means that I am listening to it! I haven’t discovered anything extremely shocking about Jobs other than he used a lot of drugs in his youth. And how do I put this delicately out of respect for the deceased? Well, I'm not shocked to discover that he was a jerk.
Being in the media I have had the rare opportunity to see behind the curtain of a few semi-famous & very famous people. And having been in several different industries, including church ministry, I have had the opportunity to know some very public figures. And what I have learned is that when someone reaches great success in the public eye then it is often times, but not always, a good indicator that they are narcissistic and at times downright nasty (AKA a Jerk). I know that sounds like a terribly judgmental statement to make, but it has often times been my experience (AGAIN, but not always). And if you think about it...it makes sense. When someone's life revolves around self-promotion and getting as many people as they can to follow them then what does that tell us about them? And let me give you another little secret that makes me sound like a jerk. If their mission in life is to make sure everyone knows their name and what they have accomplished then you can safely bet the farm that they are wreaking havoc behind the curtain of life. What do I mean by that?
When it comes to the famous or highly public figures then there are often two different personalities. There is the one that surfaces in private, backstage, off the air, or behind the curtain. And then there is the personality that we all see on the stages of life. And that is where they will often say or do anything to impress you and me. Because remember, their goal is for everyone to love them as much as they love their selves. The sad thing is...the people that really know them usually despise them. They are a terror to work for and with, and when things don’t go their way they throw tantrums of legendary proportions. There is one story after another of Steve Jobs literally crying when things went sideways. And there are numerous stories of him going out of his way to humiliate or berate others that disagreed with him. Many interviewed for the book said that he could be unusually cruel and cold to others. And that is the same thing that has been said about more famous people than you and I can count.
I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with continuing to vote for or to be a fan of some of these individuals, but we just have to refrain from worshiping them. Steve Jobs made an incredibly positive impact on the world around us. Bill Clinton, a well-known narcissist and jerk, was by all accounts a great president. You may have heard about some of his minor mistakes in his marriage, but there are numerous stories of him going off on staff members and even getting physical with one. Bill Gates who has The Gates Foundation that is touching the entire world could be put in the narcissistic camp, and the list could go on.
The point that I want to make is that just because someone is a good performer, politician, CEO, or even preacher that doesn’t mean they are a good person. And as long as we keep that in mind we won’t be too disappointed when the curtain comes down…and it always does. The question we should ask ourselves is, “What will people say about me when my curtain is pulled back?” I often ask myself if I am putting on a good show or if I am truly trying to be a good person? Because let’s all be honest with ourselves, and admit that there is a little bit of Steve Jobs in all of us. We want to be noticed and we want to be admired by the world. The difference would hopefully be that we are not willing to do anything to get that admiration. I do think we should all remember that when the show is over, the final curtain is drawn, and we walk off the stage of life the first question from our creator will not be, “How much money did you make and how many people loved you?” It may very well be, “How much of your money did you give away and how many people did you love?”