Most of the problems I see in the world are caused by one thing – believing your own shit.
Think of the people you know of whose worlds have collapsed – Lindsay Lohan, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Saddam Hussein, Richard Nixon are a few famous ones. I know of many others among my friends and acquaintances — they shall remain nameless, of course. They have, each and every one of them, believed their own shit.
Ordinary people who become elevated above the general throng — through celebrity, political success, acquisition of wealth, for example — find themselves surrounded by people whose primary objective is to reinforce their elevation.
“Ms. Lopez must have only white things in her dressing room.”
“The doctor cannot be disturbed.”
If they’re lucky, life gives them a mate or best friend early on who is not impressed by success. That mate or friend does not hesitate to call them out. If the successful one is smart enough to keep that friend close at hand and listen to them, they may avoid calamity.
“You still put your pants on one leg at a time.”
No matter how inflated the public praise becomes, you still see your plain old self in the mirror. Your public persona and your private one can stay synchronized, but they are NOT the same thing.
If they do merge, you’re going to start believing that you are larger than life, and that will be your downfall. Poor Lindsay Lohan doesn’t have a chance as long as Mama Dina is there, propping her up and telling her she’s not subject to the same rules as everyone else. Who else would go to court with “fuck you” painted on her fingernails?
Richard Nixon believed that he could do anything he wanted and penalties would not apply. Michael Jackson could indulge his fantasies with little boys and not worry about the impacts on the boys or his public image. Seldom have I seen such pain as I saw on Pat Nixon’s face when “Tricky Dick” gave his resignation speech. What impact will Michael’s children suffer when they find out about their dad?
An acquaintance of mine, head of his religious congregation, was disparaging of other faiths – his was inarguably superior. Publicly, he was a professional success, with a devoted wife and children and quite convinced of his superiority. Publicity surrounding his accidental death revealed his sexual deviance and destroyed the lives of his family. He believed himself insulated by his success and wealth against societal judgment. Problem was that his family had to pay the price.
Bottom line – don’t start believing your own hype. You may be the best criminal defense lawyer in your district or the valedictorian of your graduating class, or more. Enjoy your success; pat yourself on the back for your hard work. Just don’t start believing your own publicity. You’ll regret it. Or your family will.
 I generally disapprove of profanity (see my comments on my daughter’s blog) – it is a sign of laziness and limited vocabulary. However, this is an exception – I know no better or more succinct way of expressing this sentiment.