What is the American dream? It seems to have dramatically changed over the years. There was a time when it was a nuclear family with two kids, a nice house, a dog, and a white, picket fence. Today, success is to acquire as much wealth and treasure as you can, as early as you can, and live like royalty for as long as you can. Whoever dies with the most stuff wins. (Image Credit: Senivpetro/Freepik)
For some people, especially Hollywood stalkers, the dream is to get as much fame as possible. For them, 15 minutes is definitely not enough. They need to build a personal brand and push it everywhere. They seek attention, even negative attention. As the saying goes, “good press, bad press – It’s still press.”
What few people want to talk about is the dark side of achieving that kind of success. There is a reason why so many who have done so, also have stories of hitting rock bottom. Here is what you need to know about the reality of achieving too much, too soon:
The Substance Trap
By the time a person becomes a professional athlete, they have become used to being in constant pain and being under the care of a doctor. What they are not used to is having unlimited funds to do practically anything they want at any time without serious financial repercussions. One of the things they can do without limits is to acquire as many prescription drugs as they want.
It is not just professional athletes. Everyone has to deal with pain at some point in their lives. Celebrities often engage in activities that are physically stressful. It is trivially easy for them to find doctors that will prescribe them anything they want.
The good news is you don’t need the wealth of a celebrity to get rehab for prescription drug abuse. From teens to seniors, prescription drug abuse is a universal problem. No one wants to be in pain. One hardly notices when they cross over from taking prescriptions for pain relief, to taking prescriptions for other reasons. There is an effective treatment that can help you get that untangled.
The public speaking circuit is full of people like celebrity agent, Darren Prince, telling their stories of hitting bottom at the top. They achieved too much success too soon in their lives and became the poster-children for what not to do. Fortunately, there are also plenty of stories of recovery and renewal.
The problem with storybook relationships is that they don’t go into much detail about the daily grind of day to day living. In the real world, relationships don’t work that way. Another difference is that in storybooks, all relationships are serious from the beginning, and end up in lifetime marriages. In the real world, most relationships are quite casual, especially when you are a celebrity.
It is hard to flip the switch and go from casual to serious. The wealthy and powerful have no shortage of casual and romantic partners that fluidly move in and out of their lives. That is just one reason why celebrities tend to marry and divorce more often than the general population. They crave the storybook romance of the big wedding and the happily ever after. But they don’t have the discipline of committed relationships. This is just one of the pitfalls of gaining too much success before integrating the discipline of commitment.
Easy Come, Easier Go
There is no shortage of stories of athletes and celebrities who have had to file for bankruptcy. One wonders what they did with all that money. But the answer is not all that shocking. What did you think would happen when a person between 18 and 25 suddenly acquires millions of dollars without accountability? They spend it irresponsibly.
They buy cars for their friends and houses for their relatives. They buy expensive jewelry and designer clothes. If a person comes from near poverty and suddenly has what seems like unlimited funds, this is often the reaction. They make it rain. And when it rains, it pours.
Unfortunately, what seems like unlimited funds are really all too limited. They overestimate how much money they have, and underestimate how long they will continue to make it. Fame is fleeting, and so are those giant paychecks. Much of what they buy is also on credit, which also seems unlimited. But when the fame runs out, the bill still comes due.
There is nothing wrong with achieving fame and fortune. But there is such thing as achieving too much, too soon. Along the way, you have to gain the discipline to treat medicine like a benevolent poison, treat relationships as priceless treasures, and money as a limited resource. There is also something to be said for having simpler and more sustainable dreams.