Having partied around the world with the Instafamous playboy Dan Bilzerian, hedge-fund manager Bill Perkins says nothing makes people more nuts than fame. He uses fame brain to describe the fanatical reactions Dan Bilzerian gets from women.
I like the term fame brain. I'm going to steal it for this post and expand on it to include some other ways that fame (or rather the quest for it) has fucked with my own brain.
Tim Ferriss wrote a blog post recently detailing his own experiences with fame. Most of his focus was on the many downsides he's faced since becoming a best-selling author and podcaster. He listed a few upsides as well, but noticeably missing from this list was the endless supply of Insta thots to bang out on a daily basis. Maybe Bilzerian has something figured out that Tim doesn't.
Putting endless sex with thotties aside, Tim makes the case that fame is overrated. He starts by listing a number of doors that were opened for him that would have been closed if not for his fame. I think it'd be easy to think that Tim downplays the benefits of fame in his post, but that'd probably be a misunderstanding.
I think what Tim is saying is that you want just enough fame to access the right opportunities. Because as the numbers of your audience rise, as do the numbers of absolute nutbags within that audience.
It's a function of probabilities and base rates. If you have an audience the size of NYC (as Tim does), some of those people are going to be crazy. And the stories Tim shares are pretty frightening.
Some of Tim Ferriss' Super Fun Encounters with Fans:
The list goes on.
Why is it that despite this laundry list of downsides, I still find myself craving fame? Is it the thots? I'd be lying to my 13-year-old-self if I didn't admit that trading places with Dan Bilzerian would be fun. But for how long? A couple weeks? Even foursomes have diminishing returns.
So what is it about fame that drives me? I think it comes back to insecurity (its seems like a lot has for me lately). I think I'm thirsty for love and respect, and some part of me believes fame and attention will fill this hole. But I think this is a delusion. All cravings are moving targets. Once you reach them, your lizard brain finds a taller mountain to climb. I bet even Danny boy with over 30m insta followers wishes he had more.
More and more I've been noticing how this craving for acceptance directs my behavior. I pander to people constantly. I pander to my coworkers, I pander to my friends, I pander to girls, I even pander here on my blog. More often than not, I hold my tongue for fear of alienating myself from others. And I'm realizing too that many of my career and life decisions were in some part motivated by the upside of achieving fame and appreciation from peers.
The funny part is, if fame is something worth striving for, I can't think of a more unlikely way of achieving it than by pandering to crowds and being driven by external motivations. There's always going to be some watered-down fortune cookie bullshit that gets attention from gen pop, but for the most part, people respond to authenticity. And despite authenticity and honesty becoming values that I hold tightly, I still pander. And sometimes I lie, or at least omit the truth. Not consciously, but I've spent the majority of my life living in order to fit in. It's going to take some time to break this habit.
So while I so dearly want to make a public declaration that I WILL NEVER PANDER TO YOU ASSHOLES AGAIN, alas I probably will. But, I'm going to try my god damndest not to.