One of the issues I have with reality television shows, is the way they sell the illusion of ‘easy success’. Then, there’s also the fact that they can be counted on to create entitled brats – regardless of their age – out of contestants.
I receive all kinds of emails and Facebook inbox messages. Apart from inappropriate communication from misguided flirts, the ones which truly concern me are from the fame-hungry.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself. In fact, there is something very wrong with not wanting to better yourself.
I’m not Mother Theresa and I don’t pretend to be – so, I’m not about to tell you to give all your worldly possessions to the less privileged. I wouldn’t, myself.
However, when I receive messages from an impressionable youth, along the lines of, “Teach me to write so that I can win awards and/or become famous”, I get concerned.
When I get such a message from more than one person, in a week, it is a reason to hate reality television.
I hate to break this to you – actually, I don’t; that’s just an expression – but unless you’re Kelly Clarkson, bagging first position on a reality television show, will NOT guarantee you career success. Yes, you will have machinery behind you, that may not be available to someone who hasn’t won a reality television show. But it is worth bearing in mind that the machinery is not yours. Therefore, it is on loan. You are just holding it, till next year’s winner comes along and holds it for the winner of the following year. And so on. Of course, your arrogance makes you believe that just because a lot of people voted for you, a year is more than enough time for you to ‘blow’. Then, you get a reality check when the new ‘flavour of the year’ is discovered. You’re out in the cold, as a one-hit wonder who’s vying for a spot on “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here”. Or cavorting on “Celebrity Big Brother.”
Talent and skill change your life. But not without hard work and discipline. True, there are some people who ‘make success look easy’ (I have one of those faces), but there are some things that nobody tells you. Or they try, but you’re not listening.
Some years ago, in a meeting with potential new management in London, they asked me, “What do you want from this?”
I said, “I want consistency and longevity. I don’t mind if I have to graft for a while. I don’t actually believe in overnight success. Sometimes, you get that ‘big break’ and I have no problem with that. But I do not want to be a one-hit wonder.”
That’s why I smile, when someone says, “Will you mentor me?”
I started writing when I was eight years old. That was well over two decades ago. So, if you think “She succeeded overnight”, then that was one of the longest nights of my life. I’ve had to develop balls, been burned many times, re-defined my life goals, had to excuse myself from toxic people and things. And I’ve still not arrived where I can say, “I can rest now.” I think one of the most exciting – and frightening – things about the entire process is taking the risk of walking through some very … unusual doors.
So, when I get a mentoring request, I just think, “Are your balls big enough and is your backbone strong enough, to be in my space?” No, not everyone’s time-line is the same. Yes, some stuff can be accelerated with the right people and things around you. But anyone selling you the gospel of ‘overnight success’ is messing you about.
Here’s how success works – you will pay your dues, or you will be the cost.
All Rights Reserved, Chioma Nnani, 2015