The Indelibility of Accomplishment and the Fragility of Wealth
Accumulation of large sums of money and valuable assets (whether their value is intrinsic or not) is often viewed as “accomplishment” in and of itself. For examples of this, look no further than the likes of many modern celebrities who are “famous for being famous” – an attribute of many overnight Instagram stars and YouTubers. Many of these individuals managed to garner a following through some stroke of luck (or the backing of marketing firms) and subsequently leveraged their popularity into material wealth by signing on to endorsement deals, offering paid product placement in their social media postings, etc.
Simple possession of large sums of wealth is typically viewed in mainstream culture as accomplishment – partly due to it being enviable by many, partly thanks to modern celebrity culture. These wealthy individuals can be seen living lavish lives on their social media accounts where they post a constant stream of content about their latest escapades, whether that be large house parties, yachts filled with attractive women, or other garish displays of wealth. However, the “accomplishment” of these individuals is a fleeting status built upon a base of sand – unsteady, and easily washed away. Accomplishment through deeds however is indelible.
When you strip renown away from those whose value lies primarily in their fame so too do you strip away a significant portion of that person’s value. This erosion of renown can occur through the release of “ugly” information about that individual that turns away their followers, through that persons own actions, a cultural shift, or other events that decrease popular interest in that person. Similarly wealth may be forcefully stripped away – this most often occurs through mismanagement on the individual’s part or events that lead to large lawsuits or criminal cases that end with disgorgement of wealth. Regardless of how it occurred however it is easy for both fame and fortune to slip away and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to bring those things back. In short – remove fame and fortune from someone whose “accomplishment” is composed wholly of those things and you are left with little more than another nobody, someone who is rapidly forgotten and whose existence carries no further value to society at large.
On the other hand there is the indelibility of real accomplishment – the solid bedrock foundation of past deeds which is impossible to strip away from any individual. People whose value is built upon deeds are much more difficult to devalue and cast into the oblivion of forgotten history. Examples of such individuals can come from anywhere – artistic innovators, great inventors, military and political leaders, scientists, and so on. While the individuals themselves may be stained by controversy their deeds are indestructible and will carry on even past death.
In summary, wealth alone is impermanent and not indicative by itself of someone’s value. Accomplishment, whether attained through the use of wealth or other means, is invariably valuable and lasting. Invest in yourself.