Pedestals Are For Dead People


I’ve always enjoyed my laptops, getting a new one every couple years. All PC’s, too. Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, HP, and Asus.

During that time, though, many people close to me (you know who you are!) have been Apple fans.


Raving Apple Maniacs.

Diehard members of The Cult of Mac, all of them.

I’ve never understood it. I mean, I like my laptops, but Mac owners seem to worship theirs.

But, last year I broke down and bought my first Apple machine: an 11” MacBook Air.

I like it—a lot—but I don’t bow down to it. I actually miss some things about my PCs. To me, my MacBook is just another computer.

Sorry, Apple fanatics, I just cannot put my new laptop on a pedestal—any more than I’d put a human being there.

Last week, I got an email from a twentysomething at Dave Ramsey’s organization in Nashville …

Now, to me, Dave is famous. I know people who’d give their right arm to shake Dave’s right hand. My connection to him is that he’s a believer in the QBQ! book, which is the first book on Dave’s required reading list for every employee.

So, when I responded to Dave’s team member by email, the young fella quickly answered:

John! Whoa … I can’t believe a celebrity like you emailed me!

Um, well, that was very kind, but the truth is this: I sent my email to him moments after returning from taking the garbage to the garage and a minute prior to letting Nug the Pug out to do her business.

In my humble opinion:

  • No person elected to the White House is our savior
  • No Hollywood actor is wiser or smarter than anyone else
  • No sports superstar is a role model for the Miller children
  • No clergy-person has a less sinful nature than his/her congregants
  • No CEO can actually see tomorrow (more here)
  • No manager has all the answers
  • No mom or dad is always right (more here)

My wrestling coach always said, “Miller, it doesn’t matter that your opponent is a state champ. He puts his pants on just like you—one leg at a time!”

Actually, that may be a poor example since every state champ I ever wrestled crushed me on the mat. But you get his point:


Sadly, though, it happens.

A Facebook post was made the other day by a “pop” singer who is riding high right now. I don’t follow him, but here is it:

I’m gettin drunk! Can’t nobody tell me <expletive deleted> today.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s good. I even have one of his songs in my library. But, like you, I am surely not one of the 119,000 people who “Liked” his comment.


Color me astounded, baffled, and disbelieving.

My recommendation?

Let’s leave pedestals for busts of dead people and vases of pretty flowers. Here’s why:

Steve Jobs, the creator of the Macbook, left this Earth a few years ago. I grant Apple fans everywhere the truth that this man truly impacted our world. I mean, I am not in the Cult of Mac yet I have a MacBook, an iPhone, and two iPads!

But, sadly, he couldn’t beat cancer … at 56.

I am … 56.

So, in my remaining time, I want to be sure I’m doing super important stuff with my time, mind, energy, and God-given talents. And worshipping people and possessions just isn’t one of them.

Agree or disagree? Leave a comment!

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60 Responses

  1. John, I would like to tell you that I do put qualities of people on a pedestal. Whenever people anywhere exhibit and put forth integrity, thoughtfulness, kindness, courage, joy, creativity, patience, self-control, personal responsibility, forgiveness or gratitude, I take notice and am inspired. I relish their expressions of these and many other similar qualities and the powerful healing impact they have on me and others. I hold these qualities dear, not because they are above me, but because their qualities and expressions are what I choose to focus on in my work and other activities of living. They make my life worthwhile and I am grateful to all who express them.

    Thanks John for your many expressions of these same qualities.


  2. I agree that persons and things should not be “put on a pedestal” or worshipped. I also think that certain characteristics, like those mentioned by the first respondent, are to be admired and emulated because they improve the quality of life not only for the person who practices them, but for those around that person.
    I fell that the only personage worthy of my worship in my Heavenly Father, and His Son, My Savior, Jesus Christ. You write an interesting post and I like your ideas, most are compatible with mine and they are intriguing. Thanks for allowing me to comment.

  3. Thats right on the money, John! I shake my head in dismay with the idolization of people, who, are like everyone else just with a little more status in our culture.

  4. John – I grew up in Communist Bulgaria where every year, on major holidays, we had to march and waive to the “top brass” of the country. Most of them now are dead and I get reminders from time to time when hearing news from North Korea but I am always amused at the narcissistic and egocentric lunacy of leaders who enjoy being on a pedestal… we have a saying in Bulgaria that “he is not crazy who eats the pie but crazy is the one who gives out the pie…” Great post today! Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Sort of like worshiping the creation instead of the Creator right? Great stuff here John. Folks rise and fall and we would all do well to have a right view the values, character, and traits we want to model and emulate. Instead, I fear that many times we follow the characters, traitors, and models.

  6. John, I am in full agreement of all that you stated with one exception. You should worship your bride for putting up with your nonsense for all of these years.

  7. I love the last comment you made on this. Thank you for that reminder of how I should try to live my life. I need those every once in a while.

  8. John:
    We don’t belong on pedestals. We all have flaws and issues in our lives. I believe Wilson Mizner said it about as well as anyone: “There is something about a closet that makes a skeleton terribly restless.”

    Our flaws will come out. Our personal issues will reveal themselves. Our shortcomings will be known to us and those around us.

    I have a friend who often says he suspects God asked Mother Theresa, when she arrived at the pearly gates, “Couldn’t you have done just a little more?”

    None of us live up to our potential. But you remind us that a) we should never quit and b) if we do its on us, not anyone else.

    Keep up the good work!


  9. Your work is always a blessing to read – and an encouragement to once again realize that there ARE some folks out there with good common sense. Like the others that have responded, there are some characterISTICS that I love to emulate. A great athlete that played ball with my Dad at Rice in the 50’s lived by the credo that, “If you have nothing good to say about somebody, just keep your mouth shut.” I don’t know of too many phrases that have such far-reaching impact.

  10. John –
    I’ve been following you for years. The QBQ is required reading for many of my clients too! Probably first introduced via Dave Ramsey around 2002. I love your notes on the Apple – I call my only Apple my “Fruit”. Putting things and people on pedestals for all the wrong reasons is a problem in this country. As a fellow resident of Colorado I see this all too much in places like Aspen, Vail, Telluride – people are people. And YES, you ARE doing important STUFF! Keep it up!

  11. I really enjoyed your comments today, John Miller. I think you practice what you preach. I am frequently shaking my head as I watch those around me being led by those in the entertainment business. We need more people tuning into yours and Dave Ramsey’s shows. Thank you for helping me to remember there are still good people in this world. In my home, if you don’t work, you don’t eat; Everyone has chores. No one owes you a thing, you have to earn it. Thanks for sharing. I have two favorite sayings: You can’t out give God and you can’t fix stupid.

  12. We bought windows from a local company and the man who does the commercials on TV came to do the estimate. I say (sarcastically) to my wife, image that man, who is on TV RIGHT NOW, sat RIGHT HERE. I heard Steve Job’s last word was WOW. I wonder if he realized at the last second of his life as his family was around him that family is ultimately what it is all about. Good words John, thanks.

  13. John:
    This is the first time anyone has said anything worthy enough that has prompted me to write. It reminded me of the verse in Acts 14:14 where the apostle Paul tore his clothes when the people wanted to worship him instead of Jesus Christ. There is no mortal on this earth worth such idol worship and so many receive that in this day and time. I enjoyed your comments and the reminder you expressed that these people are human and their footprint on society should really include things money can’t buy.

  14. The sad thing is we place people up on pedestals and the day comes when the fall off. – We get hurt, feel offended, and angry. We quickly forget all the good they did. Turns out we made them all about us.

  15. John,
    I live with the power of positive thinking. About 1-1/2 years ago I was in a roll over auto accident. The car took the top off my head and broke my neck. I was not supposted to live, but by the power of God, it was not my time to go. I now live one day at a time to the fullest. For the most part I have fully recovered, with a few minor issues. Be responsible for each action in my life and live to be happy. Material objects do no mean much to me. Its life and the way you treat others and take responsibility for your own actions. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, be thankful for each Birthday because each is a gift. Mine almost ended at 58. I am approaching 60 this year and very happy about it.

  16. Thank you for the perspective. I am sharing this with my family, (specifically two teenagers). What you wrote was surely common sense in a not so common sense world.

  17. John, I’ve used nothing but apple since 1989, the Classic 2, which no one, not even apple reps remember. I believe strongly, after being around PC’s it is the easiest and best.

    Steve Jobs was a very important man with a great vision. Not many around like him anymore. Even our President get news about the march in Paris form the news?? Boy, what a great job he is doing. No one to advise him. But Apple will continue to take us to new places!

  18. Good stuff. I remember an old mentor told me, when I told him I really looked up to him and put him on pedestal. He said “Oh no, don’t do that … don’t ever lower yourself like that again.” His point was that all I could do as a human was lower my self. We are not gods to truly elevate anyone. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  19. Hi John,

    Great post, very positive and insightful – I agree with you! When things become personal, one takes note. I too am 56 and have recently made some major decisions to change some aspects of my life that I didn’t feel were inline with my values and long term goals. I have simplified my life and now spend even more time with my wife and two boys.

    I have stopped being so critical and have begun accepting people at face value – it’s very cleansing and uplifting. I’ve noticed that this has allowed me to enjoy life even more than I have in the past. This has also ignited a passion to help people around me each and every day. Although my plan is to live to 100 you never know when your time is up – so best to make good use of it today.

    Thus, as you say, rather than wasting time on worshiping people and possessions that give you little meaning or true satisfaction, it’s very important to focus your time on the important things that have meaning and a positive impact on those you care for.

    I wish you and everyone much happiness and satisfaction in everything you do!

  20. No Mom or Dad is always right? I’m not sure about that one John. As a Dad, I can assure you that my children’s Mom is always right… 🙂

    Good post. I’ve never been one to idolize people. I admire traits that they have, but they are people. In fact, I like to tell myself that if they can do it, it can be done, therefore, I can do it!

  21. John,

    I have to admit I was amazed the first time I emailed you and you responded right away! I love your posts and this is one of my favorite… I, too, will be sharing with many friends and family.

    Keep up the good work and God bless,


  22. This article is a great reminder to all of us about pedestals, minus the Apple Cult comments, haha. J/K. Thank you so much for continuing to inspire us and give us good material to pay it forward. I am excited to work this into my discussion with my teenage girls bible class! Note to self, remind those girls to subscribe to QBQ QuickNotes.

  23. John,

    What a lesson to learn… You are right, we should not place people on pedestals because humans come with faults, myself included

    I placed my boyfriend on a pedestal and enclosed in a glass dome. Everyone who knows him says he is the perfect boyfriend. But John, life has a funny way of teaching you a lesson.

    Life came out with a golf club and knocked him off the pedestal I had created and shattered the glass into hundreds if pieces.

    My first feeling was that of disappointment. However, after reflecting on the issue I took accountability for what happend. You see… It was me who placed him on that pedestal. He never asked to be placed there. I was disappointed because the image that I alone created of him was shattered. Once I took accountability for my feelings I was able to be understanding and forgiving. Now, instead of having him on a pedestal I have him by my side. Which is a wonderful place to have him at.

    Thank you for sharing this topic.

  24. John, your posts are usually spot-on and this one is too. I especially liked the “In my humble opinion…” section. It amazes me how being wealthy or popular somehow validates your views and makes them important. Acting in a popular movie doesn’t make your views on the Middle East comment-worthy. The guy from Duck Dynasty invented a great duck call. If he wants to comment on what sounds attracts ducks I’m all ears. Anything else…not so much.

    Thanks for your posts. You keep writing…I’ll keep reading.

  25. I love this! I say this ALL the time. I do not like it when people worship others. We are all human and all prone to make mistakes, etc. None of us are better than others. Yes, some do more good while others do bad but aside from them, we are all capable of doing good and love. Being rich or famous does not automatically make you a good person! Thanks for your insights – love them!

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