Celeste Owens
Psychologist

Celeste Owens

A motivational speaker and licensed psychologist with a PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.

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A lacking legacy

Q: Is the culture of celebrity and reality TV eroding our understanding of what constitutes success? What should we tell our children about people such as Tareq and Michaele Salahi who apparently crashed a White House state dinner in pursuit of reality TV fame?

Was the desire for fame and notoriety the motivating force behind the apparent crashing of the White House state dinner by Tareq and Michaele Salahi? It depends on whom you ask, but the Salahis say they were invited guests. Nonetheless, their "stunt" has taken them down a path of intense scrutiny for activity unrelated to the dinner. I would assume they got more than they bargained for.

Whether it's the search for success or the lack of common sense (probably a little of both) this type of bizarre, attention-seeking behavior is becoming all too commonplace. Who can forget the infamous balloon boy stunt? It appears that success at any cost is the motto; a legacy we should not want to leave for the next generation.

Unfortunately, our society has bought into a narrow view of success suggesting that it is merely the attainment of power, money and status.This worldview implies that greatness is obtained via fame and fortune and only an elite few will ever "make it." Being content with a "regular" job, income, and family is no longer acceptable; it's no wonder so many are seeking their 15 minutes of fame via reality TV.

Nevertheless, it's enough to make us all take pause. Has our need to be loved and esteemed (disguised as "succeeding") taken a dangerous turn? There is an air of quiet desperation that won't be satisfied by any amount of attention. The remedy is the careful pursuit of what really matters in life.

Wanting to succeed is natural but beware of the "success at any cost" pitfalls. You just may get more than you bargained for.

By Celeste Owens  |  December 3, 2009; 1:59 PM ET  | Category:  notoriety vs. success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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