Learnings for Adults
legend versus icon.
July 20, 2019

The words ‘legend’ and ‘icon’ are tap to people frequently across the world. Most of the time, you find in the field of entertainment, music, artist, sports, and creators.
The words ‘legend’ and ‘icon’ are thrown around so very often in music discussions regarding artists. But I think sometimes people use them interchangeably or just incorrectly.

An icon is an artist who, like the name suggests is representative of a certain genre/era in music, but has more to do with association and prominence than actual longevity.

Jimi Hendrix
Kurt Cobain
Janis Joplin
Amy Winehouse
Tupac Shakur

All fall under the category of icon to me. They represent and define a particular trend/style in music long gone but for obvious reasons (death, in their cases) did not maintain a very long career. Paula Abdul is an example of a living icon. She was hot during the late ’80s and early ’90s and is part of that era but never transcended past that.

A legend is an artist who I associate more with longevity. They have been at it or were at it for years and saw success and/or prominence through multiple eras in music.

Paul McCartney
Stevie Wonder
Elton John
Barbra Streisand
Bob Dylan

All fit the bill, ‘legend’ as their work and prominence lasted for decades, even till today. Regardless of whether their actively releasing or not one can associate them with multiple eras throughout music history. Just like there are living icons, dead legends also exist. Aretha Franklin, for example, was a ‘legend’. The title is associated with longevity so a dead legend would have had to live a longer life than a dead icon. Aretha Franklin (76) vs. Amy Whinehouse (27).

My humble question to the regular reader is why icon fails to become a legend? what is stopping them? what is the extra quality requires in them? Is there anything ( soft skills) require to become a legend in life? Does it require to be a genius ? Does it need to be ane excellent talent and talent human being?

I would like to remember Albert Einstein here…

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

I believe value can make icon -legend. Value has the power to turn the icon into legend. But following value, after becoming an icon is extremely difficult. I think it is inbuilt or gift from nature.

it is almost impossible to train someone on the value. At the same time, someone cannot buy those things from e-commerce. None can sell it out. No market is yet open to the sale value.

I would like to list out 5 qualities here which can turn the icon into legend.

1/ Credentials and character
2/ longevity in the field.
3/ performances bring results.
4/ Humanity to everyone.
5/ balance life.

Such qualities helps you to turn in to legend -icon.

About author

Dr Shailesh Thaker

Dr. Shailesh Thaker is a world-renowned management thinker and trainer on organizational behavior and development. He is the CLO of Knowledge Plus Inc., a highly reputed training firm based in Ahmedabad, India, helping organizations to achieve international benchmarks in management practices.

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