I was once a series regular on a short-lived but critically acclaimed TV show. When people started recognizing me—say, at a restaurant or at Kinko's—it was as if my hard work had paid off: I mattered. When my show was canceled, the recognition Snuggie I'd wrapped myself up in was suddenly stripped away, and there I was, shivering like any other actor seeking employment. I had to learn that I needed to do things every day that mattered to me in order to give my life meaning.
There are two kinds of people: those who do important things and those who want to feel important. The latter are the Heenes. The latter are the ones who willingly offer themselves up like cattle to be branded "Prime Reality Beef."
You'd be hard-pressed to find a doctor who goes home, after feeling like she made a difference in the ER that day, to submit her audition tape for Bridezillas. Or a stay-at-home dad, who's delighted that he just taught his daughter how to read, but who really wants to have nine more children and spend quality time with them in front of four cameras.
Deciding what is important to you and living it takes work. It calls for boldness. It requires a willingness to log in hours—years!—of hard work, to try and try again, to be rejected, to fail—sometimes publicly. Discovering what challenges and fulfills you is a lifelong commitment to creating your own journey. And that's how you star in an exciting reality show called Your Life.
Ah, but if you're lazy, if you're unwilling to be introspective enough to find out what drives you or brave enough to commit to creating your own compelling existence, then you might just presumptuously want someone else to make "reality" for you and cast you in it.
And that kind of reality just makes you want to throw up. Ask Falcon.
If folks went to as great lengths to be famous as they do to "live their best lives," as Oprah says, there'd be a lot less hot air in the atmosphere. The kind of people who dare to do something meaningful—whether it be smashing protons in the Large Hadron Collider or holding the hand of their sick mother—you'll never hear them cry, "Acknowledge me!" Because they've already acknowledged themselves.