“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”
― Michelangelo Buonarroti
Choupette, Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, could inherit her owner’s fortune, after his death yesterday at the age of 85.
Now, people are usually quick to dismiss this as some sort of eccentric behavior of the rich and famous, but… I urge you to imagine the life of someone who’s closest connection was with a cat. A cat. And someone with quite a lot of money and influence and status and all that…
I think this is the reason envy is such a stupid thing. You can have all the money in the world, yet no one loves you. You can be the hardest worker in the room, yet no one genuinely trusts you. You can have a great career, and be miserable in your love life.
For everything we gain, we must sacrifice something else.
Do you want to conquer the world? Odds are you will die young, tired, broken, defeated and alone by the weight of the world constantly pressing on your shoulders.
Few are ever aware of the price one must pay for greatness, of how much you need to give up. Most folks have mad social skills when compared to top athletes and artists and performers.
That’s why most of them go bankrupt a few years after retiring, that’s why they engage in all sorts of reckless behavior.
Yes, you can have anything you want in life, as long as you give up on everything else to have it.
No big deal.
Imagine the Roman generals during a triumph, when a slave would constantly whisper into their ears, “Memento mori.”
Remember that you are mortal.
A human, after all. No matter your achievements, no matter the mastery you achieved, no matter the praise of others. You are but a man. You are going to die, and this final defeat will reveal to you all the previous battles that you chose to ignore during your life.
I ask myself sometimes… Do you think Alexander the Great ended up regretting that he set out to conquer the world? Dying so young, far from home.
“Bury my body and don’t build any monument. Keep my hands out so the people know the one who won the world had nothing in hand when he died.” — Alexander the Great
Maybe, on his deathbed, he thought it would have been better to rule for as long as possible. To be good, not great.
Maybe fate always demands a far too greater price for greatness. Maybe that’s why history remembers the great, while condemns the rest of us to become nothing more than rust and stardust.