Saturday 24 August 2019

John Masterson: 'I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want'

Mind matters...

The Spice Girls on tour (Andrew Timms/PA)
The Spice Girls on tour (Andrew Timms/PA)

John Masterson

I have, over the course of my working life, met a lot of famous people. Most of them had significant accomplishments to their name. By and large the bigger they were, the easier they were to deal with. None of them thought they were 'somebody'. They knew they were.

They had learned to deal with the positives and negatives of that odd state of human existence. They were 'somebodys' because they had scored goals, had hit records, appeared on the big or small screen, told funny jokes, sank important putts or had the talent to put words together. Meeting media people was part of their job.

Many of them had no particular desire to be on the telly that particular night or sitting in the hotel doing their 50th interview. They would prefer to be with their families or walking the dog. They were just doing part of their job with as little fuss as possible.

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Anyone who ever worked in the media can spot a somebody from a wannabe at one thousand paces. For a start the wannabe will go to great lengths to explain their importance. Those of us with ears let it go in one and out the other. They are also more likely to be demanding. And rude. There was a time when Andy Warhol talked about everyone getting their 15 minutes of fame. The space has become a great deal more crowded with many more radio and TV stations on 24/7 cycles and the internet providing infinite opportunities to have your mug on a screen. People behave outrageously to get noticed. They are famous for being famous. They love the attention. Some 'celebrities' have more followers than TV programmes have viewers.

Most of us, I think, laugh up our sleeves at wannabes. We think of them as deeply needy, probably lacking in self confidence, and very likely to end up in tears. There is something vacuous about wanting to be famous for the sake of being famous. It is very different from wanting to be a great athlete, and knowing that fame is the by-product, while also knowing that it opens up a lot of extra ways to make money.

Wannabes have got one important thing right that many of us could copy. They know what they want to be. And further they will spare no effort in achieving that goal. It is a lot better than drifting from A to B to C without a plan and that is what a lot of people do. Do most of us know what our core values are? Do we ever check to see what role these values play in our lives and whether or not we need to pay a bit more attention to them?

A standard job interview question is "where do you see yourself in x years' time?" I recall a friend of mine being asked at an interview where he planned to be in 10 years. He must have done well as he got through to the second round of interviews where he was asked by the same person where he saw himself in five years' time. He replied "half way to where I told you last time". He got the job. Sadly the interviewer remained in theirs.

Having a plan matters. Goal setting is important. Setting a goal does increase the chances of achieving it, or at least improving performance. But first you have to figure out what it is you want.

These days we often hear that young people cannot afford houses. I know it is difficult. It always has been. Yet I can think of several couples, all employed in regular jobs, without massive family help, and who didn't win the Lotto who decided to save and buy a house. They made a lot of sacrifices. They did extra work. But they got there, because it mattered to them as a goal to achieve before starting a family. They had worked out what kind of life they wanted. And both agreed on it. "I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want." The Spice Girls got there. I wonder how many in the audience at Croke Park can say the same.

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