January 4, 2014

I think managing a public persona is inherently difficult for those who have strong urge to be honest with themselves. As they say, getting to know your heroes often ruins your images of them. The idea of “heroes” is inherently one-dimensional and therefore cannot ever be real. (On several occasions, I’ve written emails to the authors of the books I admired, and the responses I received ruined the images I had of them.)

Some people have no problem coping with the discrepancy between their public personas and how they actually see or feel about themselves. They make great politicians. This is also the difference between art and entertainment; we expect artists to be multi-dimensional but we want entertainers to be one-dimensional. The former serve us reality, and the latter serve us fantasy.

I think it’s very difficult to keep public personas and self-image in sync and still be wildly successful. And, those who are compelled to be true to themselves experience increasing pain as the two images diverge.