"What could I possibly have in common with a celebrity?" you may ask. On the surface, it's a valid question. Based on what they read in the tabloids and see online, most people believe that celebrities are very different from average people; some don't even consider celebrities "real" people at all.
In truth, celebrities are real people and they have needs, desires, feelings and goals just like you. And, if you look beyond the surface, you'll likely find that you have much more in common with celebrities than you may think.
Following are the top three things you have in common in celebrities. While having these similarities may not get you invited to next year's Academy Awards show, knowing these three things will help put celebrity life in a new perspective for you.
1. A desire to be loved
Everyone wants love, even celebrities. Yes, they want to be in the spotlight and have people applaud them, but that's not what love is all about to celebrities. They want someone special in their life, just like you do. Even if they "have it all" career-wise, yet don't have a loving family or supportive significant other, they often say such things as, "I feel like a failure." For example, when A-list actress Nicole Kidman was asked what's more important to her -- a successful career or a successful family -- she didn't hesitate to choose family.
True love is about being grounded, having roots and belonging. That's what a stable relationship brings to life, and that's what everyone wants universally. As actor Jeff Bridges said in a GQ article, "Think about it -- all movies, everything is about love. And having a family. Then you have a purpose for making the money and doing the things you do. It gives you a grounding to go off and do your stuff. The kite has a string." Bridges has been married to Susan Geston for 33 years. "Sue should get a credit on all my movies," he said. "I wouldn't be able to do this [without her]."
2. Having a passion and purpose
To pursue anything for years on end -- whether that something is medicine, teaching, or acting -- requires passion and purpose. If you don't have a purpose in life, you can't have passion for life. Having a purpose is what brings happiness. When you have a purpose, you have a passion to achieve that purpose. Everyone wants a purpose in life.
When you're lacking purpose and passion, you lose your direction and fill your days with "stuff" that doesn't feed your soul. This is when you're not living your life to your authentic soul.
For many celebrities, their purpose and passion is about releasing their creative energy and expressing themselves through their art. Just as doctors and teachers have a passion for helping others and use their career as a vehicle to fulfill their inner desires, celebrities view their career as an outlet or expression of who they are. During an interview with Charlie Rose, actor Kevin Spacey said it best: "There is no prize, out there. The only prize is inside -- what you feel and what you want to accomplish. I often watch a lot of young people sort of meander around without any idea about why they're doing or what they're saying. To want, to be ambitious, and to want to be successful is not enough. That's just desire. To know what you want, to understand why you're doing it, to dedicate every breath in your body to achieve. If you feel you have something to give, if you feel that your particular talent is worth developing, is worth caring for, then there's nothing you can't achieve."
Purpose and passion are the keys that keep everyone running in the direction of their dreams.
3. The need to feel heard and be seen
It's human nature to want a voice in life and to feel that your voice matters. This goes way beyond being heard or seen on a movie screen -- this is about being heard and seen as a person, in real life, addressing real problems. No wonder so many celebrities are involved in charity work and philanthropy. From Harry Connick, Jr. helping in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to Sandra Bullock giving $1 million to the Japan relief effort, celebrities want to feel that what they do matters.
We all want to give our gifts to the world. And yes, everyone has a gift; it's simply a matter of discovering it. When you find your gift, nurture it, and give it to others, you feel that you're living a full life. But when you feel that people don't hear or see you or your gifts, that's when feelings of depression, loneliness, and envy creep in. You feel lethargic, unloved, and unsure. That's when you make poor choices and live a life of regret.
It's never too late to share your gifts -- to make sure you're both heard and seen. Consider Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science and human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In September 2006, Pausch learned that he had pancreatic cancer, and in August 2007, he was given six months to live. In those six months (plus five more the universe granted him) he became an international celebrity because of his "Last Lecture" speech, which he gave on September 18, 2007 at CMU. His speech became a popular YouTube video and led to other media appearances. He then co-authored a book called "The Last Lecture" on the same theme, which became a New York Times best-seller. In just under a year he affected over 13 million people's lives. And even though he died from pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008, his message is still being heard and seen by people every day.
Embrace the Similarities
No matter what someone's profession, where they live, or their financial status, deep down all people are the same. So the next time you read about celebrity life or watch a video clip online, don't dismiss celebrity life as something surreal. As Maya Angelou said, "In all my work what I try to say is that as human beings we are more alike than we are unalike."