I speak of idol-worship here not in the sense of the intense crowds that surround every Britney Spears/Madonna/Backstreet Boys (?) etc. performance, but rather the overly large interest in the achievements of leaders in a particular field by those who are just starting out in it. To give an example, it was not too long ago I attended a competition (to those of you who know what it is, shhh). A----- was the first competitor I met there and had a conversation with, and it was a pleasure to talk with her simply as a fellow competitor, finding out more about each other's countries. Then yesterday on an Internet message board I found somebody's silly comment that "A----- has a fanclub :D ", and what disturbed me about it was the way it was said in such a distant, callous fashion. It was as though A----- is just another pop star or politician who has become a subject of public interest, and I think it's sad when people who have never met you in person start making such comments not about your work, but rather about yourself.
At the same event, I also noticed a fellow competitor, D-----, simply because he struck my eye. Then at that same message board I read a post by somebody else about how he had heard something about D----- being the person who had attended the most of such competitions. That person commented how he had not see D----- despite having been at the same competition as him for 4 years. My opinion is that something is wrong if you attend the same competition as a person for 4 years yet during those 4 years you never notice that person, especially since I thought D----- was pretty striking. Maybe if everybody just saw people because they struck your eye, not because they were specifically looking out for that person by name, the results would be much more successful.
My thoughts are simple: it is much more worth it to know somebody for who they are rather than to know them for their achievements. If I had my way, I would have it that everybody I met would be an absolute stranger to me at first, without ever having heard of them in the past, so that when I meet them for the first time, I wouldn't be biased in forming an opinion about them, and perhaps more importantly, I would appreciate them for their character and not so much their achievements.
Idol worship is simply to live in somebody's shadow, to restrict yourself to the achievements of the idol. Since everybody is unique, it is not possible to conform to any preset model perfectly. In doing so, one will only bind oneself and be unable to realise his/her full potential. No doubt one may admire the achievements of others, but I would say, try to achieve those very same targets not for the sake of living up to or besting somebody; rather, do it for the sake of the subject in concern. Our true competitor is not those around us, but rather the limits that we believe ourselves to have.
Perhaps I may be overreacting to this modern phenomenon. I would very much like to find out other's opinions on this matter.