The Impact of Icons and Influencers on Rising Generations

By: Diandra Ross, Associate, Research & Development

It is no secret that we live in a society that is obsessed with celebrity culture. We are intrigued and fascinated by the glitz and glamour that come with being famous, with several forms of media that exist solely for the purpose of discussing these famous individuals. But what makes young people aspire to be like these individuals? Why do children and teenagers look up athletes, musicians, and actors and see them as heroes?

NBA MVP and Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo giving his shoes to loyal fans.

A Fan’s Motivation

There could be several reasons for this. An obvious reason could be that fame and fortune is appealing, and it is natural to gravitate towards notoriety. However, there is a reason why we look up to certain celebrities over others. Some influencers have branched out from what made them famous, evolving into entrepreneurs and pursuing other interests.

Others are self-aware, understanding the privilege that they have from both being wealthy and well-known in our society. The most notable influencers use their notoriety to promote positive change, often regarding causes that are important to them personally. They then use their wealth to promote these causes, whether it be investing in education reform, addressing climate change, or ending poverty.

There is a sense of transparency between these influencers and their admirers, as they have the ability to be as open and honest about their lives as possible, exponentially amplified with the advent of social media. They highlight their process and what goes into having a successful career: whether it’s an athlete showing off their daily workout, an artist producing their new album, or an actor showcasing what life is like on a movie set. We witness their struggles as well as their successes.

The Lost Generation

The current generation of young people, whether they’re older millennials who have been in the job market for years, or teenagers who are still in high school, are often seen as “the lost generation.” They realize that their parents and grandparents’ normal philosophies surrounding success doesn’t apply to them. Going to college and getting a good education no longer guarantees a good job, working 40 hours a week no longer guarantees financial stability, and following your dreams seems more like a fool’s errand. This harsh reality has made this generation more pessimistic and jaded about their future, but these icons and influencers have the power to inspire others to strive for greatness despite adversity. They encourage young people to not be afraid to be seen trying, as passion and effort is needed to succeed no matter what their goals are.

Lionel Messi, Argentinean Soccer Superstar Athlete, spending a few moments with beloved fans

The Influencer’s Impact

These influential figures have a deep impact on our younger generations. There is a visceral reaction that we have when these individuals accomplish something great or achieve a newfound mastery of their craft. There is a reason why we all cheered when Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his Oscar, when Chance the Rapper won three Grammys as an independent artist, or when Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in his final game as an NBA player. Their accomplishments feel like ours. It reminds us of our own potential for greatness. We look at where they began, fathoming the work and sacrifices they made to make it to where they are today.

These icons are often aware of the influence that they have, which is why many of them take the time to interact with their fans and admirers as much as possible. They see that these meetings create a lasting impact on others, encouraging them to pursue similar dreams and reminding them of their potential. Major organizations also realize the influence that these icons have on the rising generation. The NBA launched the “This is Why We Play” campaign in 2015, showcasing the impact that NBA players have on their fans.

Across the world, there are dozens of stories of influencers meeting young fans who would eventually become their peers. For instance, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps taking a picture against his future rival Joseph Schooling, or a young Neymar Junior meeting star soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. However, not everyone can have such intimate interactions with their idols.

So how can we give that feeling of inspiration and reassured potential to as many people as possible? How do we provide fruitful connections with influencers and their admirers? What if we could learn first-hand from those who put in the work to achieve their dreams?

The Fortitude Global Foundation

All over the world, billions of people have a role model who inspires them. The athletes, singers, and CEOs that achieved success began like us: dream chasers. However, doubt kills more dreams than failure does. Dreams will always be dreams, unless one puts in the work. What if we could learn from those who put in the work to achieve theirs?

From the music realm to the sports world, the Fortitude Global Foundation connects aspiring generations to the world’s industry icons to uncover how they broke through adversity to achieve their dreams, so we may have the fortitude to chase our own.

Our mission? To empower individuals with the exponential mindset of Fortitude so they may broaden their horizons, break limiting beliefs, and strive for greatness.

At the Fortitude Global Foundation, we believe in investing in human potential and inspiring others to better themselves and the people around them.

Success is not a destination, it is a mindset. Let’s hear it from those who have mastered it and spread the power and possibility of achieving one’s dreams.

FORTITUDE: Uncovering the Mindset to Exponential Growth and Success.

Democratizing education and inspiring generations so everyone may aspire, inspire, and Strive for Greatness.