We already know the answers to life.
Health? Eat well and exercise.
Success? Work hard and smart.
Happiness? Be content with what you have, give more than you receive, and go to Disney World occasionally.
It’s pretty standard stuff and nearly everyone knows it. But 2/3 of the USA is overweight, not everyone succeeds, and misery seems to abound as much as happiness. We aren’t surprised by this because we’re used to seeing these things. We’ve even fallen prey to these conditions ourselves.
This equation is missing something, isn’t it?
- Bill Clinton had an affair as the President of the United States.
- Bernie Madoff stole about $50 billion in the world’s biggest ponzi scheme.
- Chris Farley, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and many others have died from drug-abuse.
- The founder of Victoria’s Secret, Roy Raymond, jumped off a bridge to his death.
Does anyone believe that these people didn’t know the right answer in their situation? Did Bill Clinton say, “I bet this will help my career. This is a good decision,” before engaging in sexual relations with Miss Lewinsky? Did Bernie Madoff never learn that stealing is wrong? Of course these people knew the right answer, but they willingly chose the wrong answer.
Bill Clinton fell prey to lust. Bernie Madoff let greed dictate his decisions. Those famous drug overdoses were a result of wanting the other-worldly feeling that drugs provide. Roy Raymond seemed to have been depressed after his second business went bankrupt and he went through divorce.
There is a commonality here. These people let their emotional state decide their actions.
Roy Raymond was a very smart, capable individual. He could have found love again after he divorced his first wife. He could have started another business or at least gotten a great job with his credentials. He could have been happy with the right mindset, but he chose to believe there was nothing left for him, and his negative emotions drove him to suicide.
Drug overdoses are mostly the same story. People take drugs in the first place to fill a void. When something is addictive and makes you feel great, the risk of overdoing it is high, and unfortunately, it can kill you.
Interesting: Drugs are something people do to feel better. Suicide is what people do to stop feeling anything. They are both responses to emotional discomfort and pain, and I think this is why drug overdose is a common method of suicide – you feel better up until you die.
Madoff is infamous. He stole from a lot of people, and lied to a lot more people than that. He is the current king of dishonesty. Like many others, he was greedy. Unlike many others, he had the wits and position to act on it.
So What? Emotions Are Bad?
We’ve dissected some famous blunders and found that uncontrolled emotions were the underlying issue with these people. They knew the right answer, but chose to satisfy their feelings in the moment instead (something we’ve all done). What’s the moral of these stories?
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