Is It Worth the Price?
Sports, Drugs, Fame & Fortune. I have been following a lot of news these days on various individuals dealing with social pressure and how some of them have chosen to deal with it. The Beijing Winter Olympics has been coloured with a lot of incidents but one in particular drew a lot of attention – the doping test fail by Kamila Valieva from Russia. She’s 15. She apparently “accidentally” took her grandfather’s heart meds. I don’t believe that. But at 15 she’s under tremendous pressure to perform and she did not make it in the individual event and was berated by her coach for it. I remembered an incident at the SSC swimming pool – where a young girl was sobbing in the shower coz her coach had blasted her and her mother and friend were trying to comfort her. Breaking a person’s spirit to force them to perform is a terrible way of coaching. Yet the Olympics still attracts that style coz the stakes are so high. And these are children.
In this same vein, I have been following F1 on social media – I am no F1 fan but I am a marketer and I am curious to see how the teams handle their PR. I noticed the radio silence of Lewis Hamilton following his defeat after a much debated final. There was much speculation, lots of abuse online – from extreme support to extreme hate. It was shocking. I was appalled that people could be so nasty. When he finally emerged there was talk he did it for attention etc. Personally I felt he was a man who was dealing with a lot of shit and even then he was not free to show that. So now there are happy pictures of what I was doing for 2 months etc. I don’t buy that and I feel sorry that people like him can’t show themselves as they are – they have to be PR gimmicks of perfection. It’s nuts.
I revisited a documentary on how Michael Jackson died and it was really sad because he was actually addicted to something which helped him sleep. Propofol. An anesthetic. What was the state of his mind that nothing worked to make him sleep? And he was going to perform 50 shows. MJ’s life has been one tragedy from childhood onwards. It’s so sad that beneath all that fame & musical genius was a broken man who just wanted to sleep. Was all this worth the price of fame?
The world today has been shrunk to a microcosm of madness in the form of social media. The pressure is immense and one has to only look at the booming botox and plastic surgery industry to realize this. I am appalled that there are women who would do so much work on themselves and then pretend they didn’t, like J Lo. Er hello – we ain’t fools. Even Huda Kattan who is just one year older than I has done so much to her face and I am sad but also glad that she does not pretend this is her “natural” look. Even Nicole Scherzinger has suddenly become pouty lipped with big boobs. Yes we can say people are free to do what they want with their bodies – but these all stem from insecurities. And when they are considered role models for young women – it is misleading if they pretend these things are “natural”. Also how much are you gonna keep fiddling with yourself? Ten years from now thin lips will be in fashion. Are you gonna cut your lips then? When will it end?
You are a lot more than what you do, what you look like and what you are good at. Your happiness depends on how you see yourself. So if you spend your time pushing yourself to crazy limits, trying to achieve that elusive fame & fortune and doing things to your body to look a certain way, do you think you could ever be truly happy? I doubt it.
For me, seeing these people’s lives played out like this and the pressure they are under, made me very grateful I don’t have a public life or one where I am expected to be anything other than myself. Yes the money is good and the attention is great. But fame is like a drug. And the pressure to perform is never gonna give you true happiness.
It is worth it? Screaming fans, world fame, medals, awards, money. But what of happiness? What will Kamila be in 10 years? Where will Hamilton be in 10 years? How many drug ODs will it take for people to see the folly?
Happiness is not a drug but it is the only sure way to satiate ourselves truly. Choose wisely.