I Celebrate You

I’m not a fan of celebrities. I don’t really see what the big deal is and I don’t know why I should join the easily entertained in celebrating them. I appreciate excellence and I appreciate hard work, but I don’t  see why I should give more admiration to someone who is publicly excellent than to someone who is privately excellent.

To be honest, I prefer hidden gems.

I prefer those who shine without the help of million Peso budgets and non-stop self-promotion. Most people don’t know of how lighting can make someone way more attractive than he or she really is, how a well-written, well-timed, press release can make someone seem more impressive, and how lights, and make-up, and learned exaggeration techniques can produce a star. Most of the songs people like follow similar chord progressions and beats. It’s been found that one of Lady Gaga’s most famous songs is way too similar to one of Madonna’s. Producers and marketers have found that there are formulas to make songs catchy – and we fall for these formulas over and over. Book publishers have an optimum number of words to make books sell better.

Even blogs have an optimum number of words. A number I never follow. I write to expound on thoughts – not to entertain. When people tell me my writing is too long I tell them they’re not my audience. When they say they don’t like how I keep challenging things on m blog or twitter or Facebook, I tell them to unfollow me.

It won’t change my constant message of THINK of what you truly value and spend your life on these things.

Why should I be so impressed with an optimized person who, as I’ve said in the past, has a bunch of takes to get it right, an army of people with the deliberate intention to make them prettier or handsomer or more impressive than they actually are, whose best lines come from a script, whose best moments must be accompanied by a score, and who are given a disproportionately large amount of attention, compensation, and influence over lives?

Celebrities can be found in many industries, including the non-profit and religious sectors. Even in these areas I’m not a fan. If they contribute greatly, then wonderful. But that still doesn’t make them any better than those who work hard and DON’T get the credit. I personally am uncomfortable with the amount of credit I get for my volunteer work when there are so many others who do way more than I do, who sacrifice more than I do, and who contribute more than I do. Just because I can communicate my ideas through speech and the written word, it does not make me more impressive and it should not garner me more respect than those who contribute silently.

This is why we love to treat and give gifts to pastors yet hardly ever think of the janitors.

Let’s take my own experience, while I get credit for the work of Habitat for Humanity, the organization will survive and even thrive if I wasn’t there. That’s a sign of a healthy organization. But it will actually miss more the presence of men like Charlie Ayco, the president, Yvonne, Tots, Kolleen, and other operations people that actually make the group work day after day. These people, though unrecognized, actually ARE immensely successful, and benefit our country, including you and I, way more than your average PR icon.

But our world is about attention. It’s about being recognized. It’s as if we don’t succeed if no one recognises us. And the one that gets more recognition is more successful.

That’s simple minded and stupid to be frank. And when I point this out to people, I always get unwelcome reactions.

This is even more stupid in my opinion.

Tell someone to spend their money and affection watching an attractive guy or girl shake his or her hips and sing, and you’re cool. Tell people to use their brain, and spend the same amount of money and affection on their parents, and you’re judgemental.

In my opinion, celebrityism, the unfounded glorifying of individuals just because they’re high profile, is a disease. Whether this is in entertainment, church, in business, or whatever area of society, giving too much credit to where it is not due means those who actually deserve the credit are starved of it.

I’m convinced more relationships would thrive if partners gave each other more credit than they do strangers – particularly celebrities they don’t really know apart from what’s manufactured. Parents and children would have better relationships if they didn’t spend so much time being impressed with what others have and appreciated what they do have. Employees and bosses would also get along better if there was better recognition of what even the lowest rung brings to the table.

I’m not a fan of celebrities.

But I am a fan of someone.

I’m a fan of you.

I’m not a fan of a few “impressive” people. I’m a fan of this hope that every man and woman would discover the value that rests within them that’s just as good as the value in any celebrity, and that they would cultivate their lives to give to the world and not just take. I’m a fan of the dream that people truly become connoisseurs, not of the material and fading, but of the life, the goodness, and dignity of every human being.

I don’t care about what coffee or canned good so and so uses. I don’t care about my pastor’s favorite verse (who happens to be my dad haha!), and I don’t care for my own fame. All attention does, when one logically breaks it down, is bring a tiring load of expectations. I have no interest in having to act like I’m this amazing guy. To want so much fame and recognition, and be willing to do pretty much anything to have them, is to really have serious identity issues.

I’m more interested in helping you be amazing – because you are – IF you would commit to becoming the best version of you, the person God intended you to be. This is not a perfect, “I do no wrong” sort of individual. This is a person who has found joy in touching lives for the better through his or her excellence. This is a person who does not strive to be a star on TV but a star in the sky.

The stars on TV shine to gain attention. The stars in the night sky shine to guide us. When the stars of TV fall, they act like kids, want more attention for themselves, and make excuses. When the stars of the night fall, they fall for us, so we make a wish.

If you happen to be famous, great, go shine – but KNOW why you shine – to light the dark skies of others, in other words, to enlighten people to a better way. If all you do is suck attention, you’re not a star, you’re a black hole – a dead star.

If you’re not famous, just as great, go shine – and know why you shine – to light the dark skies of others, in other words, to enlighten people to a better way.

“Wait a minute”, you may ask, “You just said the same thing.”

Exactly! Now you’re using your brain!

Famous or not, we’re all here to the same thing, be light to others and show them a better way. In this great calling we’re all equal, so why give more glory to your equal?

In this great calling we’re all equal, so I celebrate you.

David Bonifacio

David Bonifacio Husband, Father, CEO of Bridge. #DB

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Anonymous - September 3, 2013 Reply

Very well said, Sir David! 🙂 – Kevin

Anonymous - September 3, 2013 Reply

Brilliant article! 🙂

Shereen - December 5, 2013 Reply

My favorite blog 🙂 mind blowing

Bonnie Riel Banez - January 21, 2015 Reply


Marc Castrodes - January 21, 2015 Reply

I observe however that outside the realm of show business, most of the people who become celebrities are excellent people to begin with. Their excellence make them celebrities. The people who get written about, that I most often read about, are not celebrities because they wished to be celebrities. This is true in the field of science, sports, governance, non profits, and business among others. Their celebrity status is the result of their compelling story. Again this is outside the realm of show business. Yes media can be faulted for creating phony ‘celebrities”, but if we think about it, a great percentage of who gets written about are true gems.

    David Bonifacio - January 22, 2015 Reply

    First of all, I wouldn’t say that “a great percentage” are true gems because we don’t really know what the percentages are. I would also say that you’re right that there are many people who have become “celebrities” or “famous” because they’re excellent – including in the area of media and show business.

    But that’s beside the point, because the point is NOT that people are bad for being famous. There’s nothing wrong with being well known. The point is NOT to worship celebrities (including celebrities who become so through excellence) when you should be busy becoming your own person and celebrating the life God has given you, and shining yourself more than being so impressed with the shining of others.

Chelo Gemina - January 22, 2015 Reply

David, your article resonates to every soul that beats for TRUTH. Thank you for writing this. We live in a world where we ARE the center of attention, literally, being dancers onstage, except that we, the older ones, have moved from the limelight into the caves of production who make the dancers onstage today, shine.

This is a great article that looks at everyone who works with the lights and cameras straight in the eye and deal with it. It translates to humility.

May you be read by countless, if only to make this place a more thinking, more compassionate, more others-oriented world. Sincerest well wishes and my deepest dancer’s bow for sheer respect.

Chelo B. Gemina, ACBA
Artistic Director, ACTS MANILA
Excellence. Faith. Transformation.

nurhayatna (@nurhayatna) - January 22, 2015 Reply

Thanks for sharing this unpopular but true notion. I’m blessed.

Marc Castrodes - January 22, 2015 Reply

If those excellent people who happen to be famous and have reached “celebrity status” are not bad for being famous; if their excellence is something that inspires, shouldnt we encourage people to look to them for their example? Does the Bible prohibit looking up to famous people for inspiration? Yes i agree, we should not worship them, but should we prohibit having role models who happen to be famous? I believe it is wrong to look up to phony celebrities, but if my child says he looks up to Joe Bonifacio or Chris Tiu, as an outstanding athlete and outstanding student, i would encourage him to follow their excellence. I think David, Esther, Joseph, and Daniel were celebrities in their day. If it was right to look up to them then, i say it is good to look up to their kind in our day.

Hidden Gems | ExIn - January 26, 2015 Reply

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