What You Need to Achieve “Instant” Fame


Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi and Tallulah
Photo by Gretchen Ertl for the New York Times

Have you ever opened your newspaper, glanced at the image of a movie star, musician, or writer and thought to yourself, “Wow! That person came out of nowhere, and now they’re on the front page! Amazing!”

It often looks that way from the outside, doesn’t it? As though success, fame and fortune happened instantly.

The Road to Success

So what’s got me thinking about the road to success?

I’m so glad you asked! 🙂

When I retrieved my copy of the New York Times yesterday… there, on the front page of the Arts section, was a photo (above) of my daughter Carla, her husband Mathias and their daughter (my granddaughter!) Tallulah. The article was about their innovative new way of distributing music.

I opened the first page and, holy moly, there they were in a huge picture and the article covering the entire top half of the right center page. Now that’s press coverage!

Thinking, “Instant” Fame? Think Again.

I’m sure that many people who read that article in the Times probably believe that their fame has sprung out of the blue.  But in reality, their new-found mega-visibility is the result of decades of hard, steady work — sometimes disheartening — but always a creative and serious effort.

“Instant” fame happens after the long haul.

You keep putting one foot in front of the other. You struggle through the tough times when nothing seems to be going your way, and enjoy the times when everything you do seems to lead to something good.

And if you’re fortunate, you might get your moments of fame.

But the secret of living a fulfilling life is to learn to enjoy the process itself. To thrive when the creative flow happens. And to stay in the process even when it feels like a struggle.

In the end, the best rewards come from the sense of mastery and accomplishment that come from persistence over time — not the remarkable moments of fleeting fame.

(Though, as you can imagine, I’m tickled pink by Rabbit Rabbit Radio’s “instant” celebrity!)

TryTry ThisThis

Notice the Glow of Your 15 Minutes

The next time some bit of fame comes your way, go ahead and revel in it. But also notice how long (or short) the glow lasts. Fifteen minutes? An hour? A day?

How do you feel when the fame is over? Are you hungry for more? Or are you eager to get back to the process which brought you the fame in the first place?

Tell us about your fifteen minutes of fame below.

  • Carla Kihlstedt

    It’s two days after the big NYTimes feature on our musical subscription website, Rabbit Rabbit Radio, and even yesterday, the glow had pretty much faded. We got about 10 new subscribers by the end of the first day, and lots of very excited friends and family members. The long, slow, yet always engaging and challenging road ahead of us remains… well… ahead of us! Where is it going, exactly? Hopefully to a more stable and predictable income from our musical endeavors, but really, it’s just going. It’s going on towards the end of a life lived creatively and independently. (I’d be lying if I said fearlessly!)

    • Carla, you ARE fearless, in the true meaning of the word: Whatever you’re feeling, you get the job done! Kudos!!