August 21, 2013

Why Celebrities Matter.

I never thought that I’d submit an article about Ashton Kutcher being inspirational, but I did and he is.

I personally was reminded from his recent speech to remember to follow my heart, to believe that I can accomplish my dreams and, also, to not forget that someone else isn’t going to do it for me.

So what if the person who said this message happens to be extremely handsome and famous? The words were the point, and those were great.

Sure, they were inspired by Steve Jobs (even Kutcher said that, so no shock there), and anyone who’s watched Steve Jobs speak knows how motivational that guy was. I can only imagine how making a movie about him would encourage you to live up to your potential.

Still, especially since I shared this Ashton Kutcher/Teen Choice Awards speech on a mindful site like elephant journal, there’s been a bit of controversy that he’s just a “beautiful male model” and, basically another celebrity who had a moment of clarity where two brain cells rubbed together.

Well, then, why did I share this in the first place?

For one, and this is not completely related to the reason that I shared it, there’s the simple reality that even gorgeous people are allowed to be both passionate and insightful (as this speech, to anyone with eyes and/or ears clearly was).

It’s important to consider that judging someone for his level of seemingly unfair beauty is just as discriminatory as critiquing a person on the opposite end of that spectrum. (Food for thought.)

More importantly, though, this particular speech was directed to, not shockingly, teens—and guess who really needed to hear it?

Yep, kids.

Because these are the people who will create our next mindful website.

These are the people who will think up the next invention that will change our world.

These are the people who will aspire to obtain the presidency.

In short, our kids, as cheesy and cliche as it might be, truly are our future, so, I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t have been happier that someone said to them what Chris—er, Ashton Kutcher—did.

And why do celebrities matter anyway?

After all, they’re just stupid movie stars who are ridiculously good-looking. (Not my thoughts. Rather, I’m paraphrasing the more negative Facebook commentary and, if I’m being honest, Derek Zoolander.)

They matter because these are the people who, like it or not, our important children are listening to—and it’s not just little people who pretend that celebrities are more like dear friends than handsome strangers.

I can’t tell you how many adult conversations I’ve had with extremely intelligent people where we talk about what’s going on in some Hollywood movie star’s life like we were there, or like we had lunch with her yesterday. For goodness sakes, nearly everyone had an opinion on England’s new royal addition as well as Kanye West’s baby’s name.

And kids are even more easily influenced.

My daughter will eat her vegetables like she’s an old pro when she’s sitting at the table with her little girlfriends and the others are chowing down on them.

Kids, even as toddlers, will already participate in peer pressure. (Which, when carrots are involved, doesn’t bother me in the slightest.)

If you want to walk around with your head in the sand pretending that those hooting and hollering girls in the audience didn’t pause for a moment after Kutcher explained that being sexy is actually being really smart (rather than ridiculously good-looking), I’d bet that you’re wrong. The cat calls surely calmed down after that.

Because people heard what he said—a lot of people.

And that’s why celebrities matter.

That’s why I shared this viral sensation—because it was an outstanding message that came from someone who our kids just might listen to.

So the next time you get on your soap box and pretend that we live in a world where people of all ages don’t attend movies and cut their hair like the latest sensation, I’d merely ask you to wake up and look around.

Our world is increasingly becoming globalized, and films are one obvious way that this is happening—and it’s not a new thing (as most things generally aren’t.)

Our grandparents also had famous people that they looked up to and talked about; people who they tried to dress like or who they dreamt about dating.

The pin-up girl isn’t new; the teenage girl swooning over a boyishly charming face isn’t new—sharing a video of such a star’s inspiring speech on Facebook? Yeah, that might be.

Would you rather that I had shared this speech? (Because it’s great too. In fact, it’s already been shared on elephant journal in the past, which is one major reason that I didn’t also include this video link.)

So “stay hungry” and “stay foolish,” and remember, too, that “opportunity looks a lot like hard work”—and, while you’re at it, don’t be naive enough to think that your kids aren’t affected just as much by the world and people around them as they are by you.

“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” ~ Jim Morrison


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Ed: Bryonie Wise



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