Kanye West and Donald Trump were my childhood heroes. But this one word made me keep my distance.
Back when I was a a young adult, I used to listen to Kanye West all the time. He was a lyrical genius that knew exactly what to say. When he robbed the most beautiful woman in the Milky Way, Taylor Swift of her moment in the sun at the MTV Video Music Awards, I was appalled, but I forgave him. Because I respected his craft.
Then one day, he just went too far.
When I was totally into Kanye’s music, listening to all his anthems in my car, I had another person I looked up to. His name is Donald Trump. I was so impressed with his real estate success that I bought all his books. I started reading The Art of a Deal, but got bored because it talked about his 110% efficient (read: boring) daily routine and was like I don’t want to live like this. Regardless, I thought it was inspirational to see someone like him create so much success.
Back then, I was filled with a sense of naiveté backed with arrogance. I thought I was the best at what I was doing, when I clearly wasn’t. Maybe these were traits I picked up from these role models of mine. Maybe these were traits that came from my genetic history, being 51.8% Korean and 38.5% Japanese, according to 23 and me.
Regardless, the combination of naiveté and arrogance is the deadliest combination for any person to have. This is what leads to people getting scammed, finding business partners that screw them over, investing into get rich quick opportunities and thinking that they rule the world. At the end of the day, they lose friends, they lose money, get sued, have investigations, or get sent to jail. So with these big hopes and dreams, all they are left with is disappointment.
As Donald Trump and Kanye West further grew their brands, I respected what they did, but didn’t pay as much attention to their everyday lives. But here they are today, making a fool of themselves.
I understand what Donald Trump is doing 100%. He’s crafting his role by tapping into the inner emotions of what people are unable to share in our new socially conscious society. But he has taken things too far.
Kanye West on the other hand is claiming he is the one who brought Taylor Swift to fame. He just hit the point of pure arrogance. She earned everything she got. She deserves all her success as well. Plus, none of it came from him.
What these two people are doing is they are spreading a disease. A disease of naiveté and arrogance, or what can be coined as ‘narrogance‘. They are playing the roles of what they believe will best shape their careers to get ahead.
To win the election, completely understandable. But Kanye, what in the world are you doing?
Things have gone too far.
By acting like this, these two role models I had growing up aren’t only ruining the dreams I once had, but they are poisoning the future generation to come.
As many teenagers and young adults do, they begin to act and follow into the footsteps of their heroes. By playing these roles of combining arrogance and naiveté, these two people are spreading a disease that will be acted upon by the next generation to come.
If this continues, narrogance will be widespread. People will continue to fall for scams.
Then it will become an epidemic.
How can I ever defend either of my two once heroes, especially after they had made such a fool of themselves? How can I ever say that I once liked Trump to any of my friends from Mexico or who believe in Islam? How can I ever defend him for all of the things he once said? And Kanye, how can I call you a lyrical genius when you are making a complete fool of yourself, by basking in your arrogance thinking you are God’s gift to the world?
I used to be your advocate, but now I can advocate you no more. Instead, I will have to distance myself from you.
I’ll give you an example of a similar situation from my personal life. When my career had reached a significant pinnacle back in 2014, I had tens of thousands of followers and millions of views on my content. I was so exhausted in life, trying to balance a relationship, a job, a business, school and my writing. I broke down. When I broke down, a hater emerged from the woodworks. Then my arrogance got the best of me. I went to publicly shame them.
There wasn’t much of a sense of naiveté. I knew what I was doing, but the tiredness led me to make poor judgment calls, like letting my arrogance out. So much like Kanye West and Donald Trump, I led the attack with my ego. Shaming them worked. It got the hater to vanish. But there were long term consequences. That mistake cost me not only my girlfriend, but the strong bonds I had with my audience. It weakened our ties and made it significantly harder to have that direct bond that I once had. I lost trust with my supporters and it took a significant amount of work to recover, yet some ties will never be fixed.
With that said, it’s time to get off your high horse. Bring yourself back to reality. Your money doesn’t define who you are. Your talents don’t define who you are either. Just who you are and what you do. You are shaming your name and making people who once supported you, like myself, keep their distance.
It’s time to stop messing up the next generation. Stand up and change and please stop spreading this sense of narrogance with the world.
Originally posted on Inc.
Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.