Just saw this quote... thought it was an interesting perspective on "being somebody."
"One day you will take a fork in the road, and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make your compromises and ... turn your back on your friends, but you will be a member of the club, and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way, and you can do something, something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. ... You may not get promoted, and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors, but you won’t have to compromise yourself. ... In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you have to make a decision: to be or to do."
- Colonel John Boyd
Col. Boyd developed the concept of the "decision loop." The OODA loop is about how people or organizations react to an event.
Observe: the collection of data
Orient: the analysis of that data to form a mental perspective
Decide: the determination of a course of action based on that mental perspective
Act: the physical playing-out of that decision
The faster you can move through the loop the better. If you are faster than your opponent, you get "inside" their loop and have the advantage. It's good to be in the loop.
But I digress - back to the quote. While I disagree with the notion that you must compromise yourself to "be somebody," I've been alive long enough to see that there isn't a shortage of those willing to compromise their integrity to "get ahead." Anyhow, that's my take on what the Colonel was referring to.
So perhaps the question should be: When the moment of decision comes, will you maintain your integrity?