Why I’m glad I’m not beautiful, rich or famous
Watching a TED talk recently, a model spoke about how it feels to be beautiful for a job. Apparently in the modelling world, the overwhelming feeling is of insecurity. After all beauty is only skin deep, and it doesn’t last forever. So if your identity is a product of people telling you you’re beautiful from an early age, and strangers checking you out in public all the time, you evidently end up slightly obsessed with your looks, and slightly frustrated that people only like you because of the genetic luck you had.
What about being rich? Many of us would be aware that having an income beyond a certain amount, around US$50-70,000, does not increase your happiness. And spending money does not bring you happiness, unless you spend it on other people. When I see people driving expensive cars I actually pity them a little that they feel so inclined to make a statement, and that they can’t think of other better things to do with their money, like save 2000 people’s eyesight, or provide clean water for a village for 100 years.
And lastly, what are the downsides of being famous? Would you want to live your life in the spotlight like the new royal baby in the UK? There must be a few benefits, for example your opinion is much more influential, which can be a really great thing if you want to help change the world (although how many famous people really do this?) But there are also huge downsides like lack of privacy, unequal relationships where everyone knows more about you than you do about them, being typecast. Worst of all, everything you do is recorded for posterity, the good, the bad and the embarrassing.
I think Princess Diana was probably the embodiment of the downside of being beautiful, rich and famous. She did make huge efforts to help other people, and I think that was the only area of her life that she truly found any happiness in.
So, for the rest of us, why not try to embrace the massive benefits of being normal…
- Spend any extra money on helping other people.
- Celebrate the fact that people like you for who you are, not just what you look like.
- And revel in your privacy by doing something embarrassing which no one will ever find out about.
Posted by Rob Pyne