Whitney Houston – There But For The Grace of God

Life Coach GodI’m not a big fan of celebrity culture. I don’t watch TMZ, I don’t follow any celebs on Twitter and I don’t really care which movie star has been caught with a goat in a compromising situation. Unless that is, it’s my goat.

I was somewhat saddened by the death of Whitney Houston though.

Not because I’ll miss her music, quite frankly I’d miss hemorrhoids more. But because of the moral indignation displayed by some people following her unfortunate death.

It seems Ms Houston took drugs. Quite a lot of them actually.

It Was Her Own Fault!

And to some people that means she had it coming to her because no matter that the drugs may well have been legal and prescribed, she’s still a druggie and it was her own fault.

And maybe it was her own fault, in the same way as it’s someones own fault if they contract lung cancer from smoking or diabetes through poor diet choices, or drive too quickly and have a pile up.

It’s easy to look at celebrities gone wrong and think,

WTF is wrong with those people? They have all that fame, all that attention, all that money and still they want to ruin their lives with drugs

If only it were that simple, I only recently had a client with serious signs of an ambien addiction but would do nothing about it.

Firstly, many people go into show business and seek fame because they are insecure in the first place. They think the adulation and money will allow them to feel better about themselves.

But of course it never does. Or if it does, it’s merely fleeting and thus requires the next movie, song, book or tour be as good as the previous ones because they’ve nailed their self esteem to the mast of performance.

Secondly, the process of human adaptation means no matter how much money, fame or even sex we have, we get used to it and usually then want more.  It’s a process called the Hedonic Treadmill.

Money And Fame Do Not Equal Happiness

I used to earn twice as much money in sales as I do in Life Coaching, but I never had any more spare cash, because I adapted to my circumstances. I just went on longer more expensive vacations, bought more expensive clothes and drank more expensive wine.

But I wasn’t any happier, in fact just the opposite.

And that’s why the guy earning $10m is no happier than the woman earning $500k. Statistically speaking of course because genetics also play a part.

Think of Whitney Houston as a twenty-something up on stage in front of 20,000 adoring fans. She delivers a great set and the crowd goes home buzzing and appreciative.

Have you any idea how much dopamine, endorphins and serotonin is coursing through the singers veins when she makes her way back into the dressing room?

Do you know how long it would take to come down off that kind of high, the kind of high that a very tiny percentage of people ever get to feel?

More to the point, do you realize how potentially low the following low may turn out to be?

Especially at the end of a tour or when their latest project bombs and is shredded by fans and critics alike?

Or worse still, when they realize they’re getting old and their good looks are declining a la Demi Moore.

Potentially very, very, low.

Drugs are an easy way out for many people in that situation. Make no mistake, they are always a dumb way out, but they are still a brief escape from the immediacy of their situation.

A Xanax or a joint to ease the stress. An Ambien to help them sleep when they are still buzzing. Or maybe a few lines of coke and half a bottle of Jack Daniels to help them regain that top of the world feeling?

And it’s not like it’s even hard. if you put a gun to my head and told me I had to get you a large bag of coke by sundown, I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin.

The reverse is true for famous people. There’s always somebody waiting to give them a pill or pass them the bong or chop them a line.

My favorite comedian of all time was Greg Giraldo. I said was, because he died of an accidental drug overdose in 2010.

I’ve heard pretty much every set he ever performed and he regularly talked about his battle with drugs and alcohol.

Yet even a relatively unknown comedian like him was regularly and literally having drugs shoved under his nose by his fans.

I’ve never heard anybody speak a bad word about Greg Giraldo who had met him. Yet a number of people saw fit to post on his Facebook page that he got what he deserved.


Is that where we’re at now, that people that do dumb things deserve to die?

It’s All About Values

Or is it that some people like to think they occupy the moral high ground because they have never succumbed to recreational drugs?

That’s shaky ground because it’s also not reserved for people who have been creative with an expense account, rounded down their taxes, taken something home from work by ‘mistake’, lied to a partner, driven recklessly or under the influence of alcohol and any other number of things that are immoral, unethical or flat out illegal.

I talk a lot with clients about values as you probably know. We all have different values and we all see the world through the veil of our values which is why values work is so important and enlightening.

People who judged Whitney Houston to be a bad person because she took drugs, are merely looking at her life through their values and making the incorrect assumption that they are better and would have acted differently.

It’s s nice thought, but fundamentally flawed, as well as being stomach-churningly arrogant.

If you’d been born instead of Whitney Houston and had the exact same exposure and upbringing, there’s a very high probability that you would have made many of the same decisions she made.

There but for the Grace of God eh?

If you really want to get a grip on your values and understand ho you can use them to shape your life for the better, check out Aligning With Your Core Values

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