I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – Too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! They’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June —
To an admiring Bog!
When you’re getting updates from hundreds of people on Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites, it’s easy to start feeling a bit inadequate. Everyday it seems like one or more of your friends has launched a product, found a job, climbed Kilimanjaro, or done some other amazing thing you…haven’t.
So you start frantically trying to network, get your act together, and knock things off your bucket list. You wonder if you aren’t dreaming big enough or being bold enough. The more you try to “fix” the problem, the harder you are on yourself and the the more you start to feel like a Nobody.
So maybe you haven’t made it into the Guinness Book of World Records yet. Maybe your achievements haven’t even made it into your parent’s Christmas letter. Take heart. Some of the most delightful people on Earth have been Nobodies too (like Emily Dickinson–well, at least for a while).
Here are 10 fabulous reasons to celebrate your Nobody status.
1. There’s always a bigger Somebody. Is your name Richard Branson or Mother Theresa? How about Stephen Colbert? No? Congratulations. You’re a Nobody.
2. Nobody? No pressure! When you have a Somebody status to maintain, it can get pretty stressful. You start to think you can’t leave the house in your sweatpants or check Twitter without a witty one-liner in your back pocket. Somebodies eventually develop facial ticks. When you’re a Nobody, you get to be you, just glorious you.
3. Families of Nobodies are happier. As Scott Stratten reveals in this hilariously poignant video, turns out being the #1 trainer in the country of how to sell bubble wrap isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And your family? They just want to be Somebody to you.
4. Time gets the final call on Somebody status. Somebody status can take a while to kick in, like it did for Picasso or Alfred Wegener. Then there are those who were famous in their day, but their names are lost to the sands of time. I’d give you some examples, but I’ve already forgotten them.
5. Being Somebody isn’t always a good thing. Hitler was Somebody. Snookie is (sorta) Somebody. Be careful what you wish for.
6. Being Somebody is overrated. When you daydream about becoming a Somebody, you focus on the perks: easy dates, sponsors who give you swag, and fruit baskets in VIP hotel rooms. But the reality (okay, my impression of the reality) is those perks get stale fast. Before you know it, your house is filled with meaningless junk and you question everyone’s motive for wanting to be friends. That doesn’t sound so dreamy, does it?
7. Nobodies get to keep their own opinions. Somebodies only keep their status as long as the masses let them. As your audience grows, you have to keep them happy. You run polls to see what will get people to watch your movie or buy your product or give you their vote. Pretty soon, Somebodies don’t have beliefs, they have appeal.
8. For Nobodies, there’s nowhere to go but up. I’ve seen firsthand the problems that develop when intelligent, talented people become Somebody. They’re afraid to make mistakes. Any action at all has the potential to decrease their status. It becomes paralyzing. On the flip side, Nobodies enjoy the luxury of risk. After all, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
9. Nobodies have more fun. Nobodies don’t have to obsess over the latest rash of hate mail. And without a slew of handlers in chaps shuffling you to events with a cattle prod, Nobodies have a lot more time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
10. Nobody achievements make the world go round. When I taught freshman chemistry, I loved doing the Gummy Bear sacrifice demo. What I wanted to impress on those young minds is that there’s more than one way to fry a Gummy Bear. Your body doesn’t burn glucose in one big step because flames and human skin don’t go well together. So evolution came up with the brilliant solution of breaking the process into a bunch of small steps to make it more manageable. Life is like that too. A flash in the pan is fun to watch, but the majority of progress in this world comes from the good work of Nobodies.
This piece was written by Jennifer Gresham and publish at everydaybright