09/03/2013 07:11 pm ET

David Frost and Recognition

You never know how you will be remembered.

People try to massage their image so that they present themselves in the best way. A celebrity, especially, wants to be known for something that will set him or her apart. But we cannot control how others think of us.

David Frost, who died recently at the age of 74, is perhaps best remembered, now, for his landmark 1977 interviews with disgraced former president Richard Nixon. But he did a lot more, as a thoughtful appraisal by Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times points out, including becoming a celebrity television interviewer, creating a new way of distributing television information through syndication of his Nixon interviews among other achievements.

Many considered the Nixon interviews the highlight of Frost's career, and the importance of this event was marked as well by its being the subject of a play and a movie based on the play, "Frost/Nixon."

But should a life be defined by a single event? Frost could not determine how he'd be remembered -- or if he'll be remembered many years from now. But a life is more than a single thing. It's a series of small actions -- that interview was the result not only of Frost's determination, but his having already built a career in which he had learned to handle, or persuade, outsize personalities, to sit for an interview.

Of course, it's not a bad thing to be remembered for having done something significant. It's just that the significant is simply one part of a life made up of smaller moments.

We sometimes lose sight of that, as we strive toward fame or success (those of us who are interested in it). Planning, execution, detail and determination lead to that moment for which you become known. But that big moment would not have existed without the tiny ones that went before.

David Frost contributed to the modern media landscape, perhaps in ways for which he won't be acknowledged. It's a humbling reminder of how we cannot control what others think of us or how we are regarded or remembered. All we can really do is continue to take actions in a way that will move us forward, bit by bit, toward whatever our ultimate goal is.