What Makes You Happy? What Makes You Unhappy?

It’s funny where the inspiration for these posts sometimes comes from, and this one comes from my decision to listen to an old George Michael cd the other day! In case you haven’t heard of him, George was a hugely successful singer mainly in the 80’s and 90’s. One of the albums he made and the one I chose to listen to yesterday was called: Listen Without Prejudice.

It was a really great album and one of the few albums from the 90’s that I re-visit with any regularity. It’s an album where his fabulous voice, his genius songwriting skills and his love of truly great music shine through.

Sadly, he brought out albums in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that were, in my opinion, bland and forgettable, I guess most artists get into this situation eventually and then gradually get forgotten. Last year, on December 25, George died but until then he kept on making the headlines, but usually for all the wrong reasons.

George’s claim to fame in those days was for getting stoned and driving into lamp posts and shop windows! Not pretty! George made so much money, (he is said to be worth around £100 million) he never had to work again. But was he happy? Err obviously, not.

Now I’m not saying that to make people without money feel better about themselves. The reason that I’m saying it is because I just wanted to underline the fact that money ALONE will never make you happy.

I know that sounds obvious. But George had so many things going for him, talent, good looks, a partner, money…

So why was he unhappy? Maybe George’s main driving force (excuse the pun!) in the early days was fame and money and when he achieved those things, he lost his purpose. This is not uncommon. It appears that George was no longer growing as a person, he was stagnating.

  • A great personal development guru called T. Harv Eker says that if you’re not growing you’re dying and that’s so true. Just like if a plant or tree no longer grows, then it must be dying.
  • It certainly had seemed that George was a shadow of his former self.
  • I just wish he could listen to either the old musicians that inspired him or new ones or both.
  • But even if he was unable to regain his musical mojo, he needed to find another purpose in order for him to flourish again.

A few years earlier, Amy Winehouse was found dead at her home at the age of 27. Many suspected that this was a drug overdose; the cause has not yet been established. After the phenomenal success of her second album, Back To Black, she seemed to have been lost in her alcohol and drug addictions.

Perhaps it was the pressure of all the press attention combined with the pressure she may have felt thinking that she had to at least duplicate, if not surpass, the success of Back To Black.

Amy always seemed pretty fragile; this would have been a lot of pressure to bear. But perhaps once this level of success was attained she may have felt that she couldn’t do better and stopped trying. Now, for her it’s too late, just like for George. He couldn’t find his purpose before it was too late.

Of course the moral of the story here is that when it comes to success don’t just focus on the money, that should only ever be a part of what you aim for. If you’ve no purpose once you’ve attained your fortune, there’d be no point in having it as you wouldn’t know how to enjoy it. And what once drove you, could end up being your undoing. And now I’ll think about tomorrow as my girl has to go to school again.