Success or Fame: Which would you choose?

October 7, 2014 • Inspiration

What bumping into Mack Wilds during dinner at my favorite restaurant made me think about success and fame.

I could tell he enjoyed eating his dinner in peace.

Success or Fame: Which would you choose?

No matter which you choose, you’ll have to end up making some sort of sacrifice.

This past weekend I went out to eat with two of my college besties at one of my favorite Cuban restaurants in Montclair, New Jersey – Cuban Pete’s. It was refreshing for all three of us to be around each other again.

During dinner we noticed that there was a party of three men who came to sit at the corner table next to us.

We paid it no mind. No biggie

At one point, I glanced over at one of the guys sitting at the table. I said to myself, “That guy looks like Tristan Wilds aka “Mack Wilds”.

This guy:


Tristan “Mack” Wilds  is an actor/musician and has been on shows such as The Wire  and 90210.  He also has this catchy song called “Henny”. He may not be Beyoncé, but within his niche, he’s pretty popular.

Later on during the dinner, my friend also noticed this guy’s resemblance to Tristan Wilds. To make sure, we went to his Instagram page. We noticed this guy had the same arm tattoos (and jewelry) as the person in the photos.

It was Tristan Wilds!

What next? Do we introduce ourselves? Do we ask for photos?  We couldn’t help but think that it was mega cool that we were sitting next to a celebrity in a random restaurant in Montclair. I’ll admit, we may have gotten a little “too excited” concocting ways that we could get his attention. I thought of ways I could ask to interview him for my blog. My other friend debated if she should mention her upcoming cultural conference to him.

I had to confirm our assumption. When I noticed that Tristan was pretty engrossed in his phone and not paying attention to the table, I asked his friend who was sitting near to me if  the guy with him was really Tristan Wilds.  He gave me one of those, “Yeah, but please don’t make it a big deal” looks.

I understood.

At the end of day, celebrities are people too. They deserve to be able to go out to dinner with friends without people hounding them for an autograph or invading their personal space and time (such as eating dinner). It must be hard juggling one’s personal and private worlds when the two are often blurred so often. America’s obsession with the celebrity makes it no better.

If you could choose between fame and success, which would you choose?

Here’s how Google defines fame and success:

Fame: the condition of being known or talked about by many people, especially on account of notable achievements.

Success: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose ; the attainment of popularity or profit; a person or thing that achieved desired aims or attains prosperity.

When I think of the word famous, I think of the notion of being a “celebrity.” Being well-known in the public sphere. Having people watch your every move. Paparazzi.   You get it. I think of stress and constantly being in the “public eye.”

You can achieve fame for positive or negative things. While some people get famous because of sex tapes or mass murders, others gain notoriety for feats such as winning the Nobel Peace Prize, curing cancer, or making funny remarks during a news interview. (Anyone remember Antoine Dodson?) At the same time, fame is very relative. You may not be famous to everyone. You’re only really famous to those that know who you are and what you are “famous” for.

When I think of success, I think of something that is more internal. Success can mean you’ve reached a level of satisfaction in an area of your life that you’ve worked hard for. It can mean happiness.  For me, success is waking up every day and feeling fulfilled. Being able to provide for myself and my family. I’d like to feel like I’ve made a mark on the world in my own unique way. I’d like to be financially, emotionally, physically, and emotionally stable. Success is being able to live out my passions and have the life that I’ve always dreamed of.

The two aren’t mutually exclusive. You can have both. At the same time, you can have one and not the other.

Something I think about often is: What if I gain fame through my success?

That’s the part that truly scares me. Though the life of a celebrity seems glamorous, I don’t want to have to think twice about going to a restaurant late at night for fear that I won’t be able to eat my dinner in peace.

However, in life there some things that we can’t necessarily control. Sometimes on our path to success, we’ll have to deal with many things that we might not have imagined and fame might just be one of them. As someone who wants to be successful in the media industry, that may just come with the job.

I told my friend Mary about my fear of fame and she said, “So why do you have a blog?” The question made sense. Why do I have a blog? I have a blog to share my thoughts. I have a blog to inspire and encourage my audience.  There’s a possibility that one day my blog could possibly make me “famous”.

To tell you the truth, I sometimes fear the future. I’ve limited myself a lot in the past  when I wouldn’t do something if I wasn’t going to be able to predicts its outcome.It hindered me. Now, I’m more about taking risks and not over analyzing every situation. Sometimes I don’t write about what I want to write about because of the fear that it may be “too real” or that people may ostracize me.

Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith. Jump. You may fall, but you also may also fly high. (CLICK TO TWEET)

Thinking about whether you want success or fame is important. Do you want to be known? Do you want to make a difference? Do you need fame in order to be successful? Do you need success in order to acquire fame?  These are things to think about, but they shouldn’t be inhibitive. Continue to move forwards and onwards,

When I got home later that nighy, I decided to tweet Tristan. I was totally shocked by his response. He told me that I should have said hello!


I couldn’t help but chuckle. I’m pretty sure Tristan would not have wanted me to interrupt his dinner. I’m also pretty sure that he did see me. (I asked one of his friends to take a photo of me and my friends before we left the restaurant). Is this part of what comes with fame? Being appealing to your fans even when you really don’t want to?

You know what? Though it was cool to be sitting next to a “famous” person, I was pretty alright with not interrupting him and letting him eat in peace.

Knowing who you are, what you want, and how you think with the world are important steps to learning how to SHINE in your life. You may think this silly, but processing situations you encounter on the daily are is one way to revealing your inner desires and fears. Here’s a little story for you all.

What are some things we sacrifice on our rise to success? SHARE YOUR OPINION in the COMMENTS section.


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Rana Campbell is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of, a site dedicated to personal branding and helping people learn how to SHINE in their personal and professional lives.

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