Hello and good day!
As of late, I have watched both the biopic about Elvis Presley and the biopic about Whitney Houston. These are two of my all-time favorite singers, and obviously I'm not the only one who feels that way.
Whitney Houston is the most awarded female vocalist of all time and Elvis is the number one selling musician of all time.
Both died of drug related incidents in their forties.
The one thing that really tugged at my heartstrings in both of these movies was how much both genuinely loved music and singing.But they got so popular, and generated so much money, and they were so in demand, that they weren't able to do the thing they loved as much as they wanted to.
And to cope with all the pressure of so many people depending on them and wanting something from them, they turned to drugs to ease the pain and stress of life. As always happens, the drugs ended up ruining them.
Here is the cycle.
You work for years getting super good at something. The word gets out and the demand for what you do starts to grow. It is flattering that people think so much of you and it is lucrative to try and do what you do for as many people as possible.
In order to service all that demand, you have to hire people and build an organization. After all, you can't be expected to do the thing you do and also run all the complex logistics of bringing it to the world on a large scale.
You end up with no choice but to bring people on board to help you. Before going any further, I want to point out that this cycle that I am describing doesn't only apply to famous singers. It could apply to a general contractor or a surgeon or any other profession as well.
Since the way you make money flow to support the growing organization is doing the thing people want from you, you focus on that. Meanwhile, there can be people in the organization who are dishonest or greedy and since you are so busy, it is very easy for people to take advantage of you.
All the sudden, you start looking into things and you realize that your organization is in shambles. Now you have to stop doing the work you are great at and that you genuinely enjoy and start dealing with people and analyzing the administration of the machine.
If people have been taking advantage of you, especially people you trusted, it will be very disheartening, and you might just start to lose faith in humanity and spiral into an existential breakdown.
All this takes you further and further away from the thing you love and now the angst of your realizations plus this big absence will send you into a deep depression.
Drugs can help ease the pain. I'm telling you; this can happen to anybody. Rich and famous people aren't the only ones who are susceptible to these kinds of pressures.
By the way, I might as well go ahead and state this. I have no beef whatsoever with people who are rich and famous. If that brings fulfilment to a person's life, then by all means, they should have at it.
But in the case of Elvis and Whitney, it sure seems that the level of wealth and fame pulled them away from their passion, trapped them, ultimately made them miserable, and led to untimely deaths.
In both movies, both were yearning to get back to their art, but they were too emotionally and psycologically damaged to get back to what they loved.
There is a lesson in this. Don't give up your art.
A person is free to scoop up as much wealth as they can, but if it comes at the expense of the art, it is likely to be destructive.
I actually know of a plumber who went through just this kind of thing. He genuinely loved working on people's houses. He worked hard and was meticulous and charged top dollar.
He was so in demand that he started hiring people and taking on tons of jobs, chasing after riches and probably trying to pump up his ego by being able to say he ran a big company.
Only problem was that he wasn't a manager or an MBA. He liked plumbing. As time went on, his customers started to complain that his company's work wasn't as good as they'd hoped, and he had to start cracking the whip on his employees.
Many employees quit on him and he had a huge backlog of jobs and there were a bunch of refunds he had to give. The whole thing made him very, very sad and he longed to go back to the good old days when things were simpler, and he could practice his craft.
All of this is to underlie the fact that extending beyond one's ability to deliver high quality work and practice their art is a recipe for misery. It can happen to a plumber, and it can happen to Elvis, and it could happen to our company too.
When I see movies like these, it makes me want to make sure that I never stop hanging out around our shops for a few hours a day talking to customers face to face.
That is part of our art.
It makes me want to make sure that we never slack on our post harvest processing so that the cacao continues to be delicious.
That is part of our art.
And we must never grow beyond our production capacity so that the quality of our products doesn't suffer. Making great products that make people happy is our art.
Connecting our wonderful customers to our cacao farm partners through stories and chocolate, that is our art.
It is so easy for a company to want to chase growth at the expense of everything else. Usually, the hope is for a big payout once your company is big enough to sell.
If making money is your art, this make sense. But if making good chocolate is your art, it is a losing strategy.
What if Elvis and Whitney could have focused on making more and more music and if they had stayed healthy and were still alive? The world would be a better place.
Anyhow, thank you so much for your time today.
I'm going to the shop for several hours now and I know that is the right thing to do!
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!