If you want to be happy. Be
I love shoes! Anyone who knows me, knows I fill up a blue IKEA bag full of shoes when I travel between my 2 homes. I know it sounds nuts but I never know what occasion is gonna pop up in my world where I’ll need that special pair of 👠 shoes.
My latest pair of shoes that I bought from Zappos were my metallic Dansko clogs I wear to work. Just looking at them makes me happy.
Today, I learned of the mysterious death of Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Zappos. I found his death sad for many reasons : he was a huge success on the outside, he was my age, and he tried to figure out what happiness was.
I remember trying to figure out what “happiness” was many years ago. I thought it was getting married until I got divorced. I thought it was my dream job until I discovered the doctor I worked for was committing major fraud. In both of these situations I took some time off and focused on myself. And much like Tolstoy’s quote above, I figured out that happiness was just “being!”
Tony Hsieh had loads of money and he still embarked on a journey to figure out what happiness was. He wrote a book, started an entrepreneurial commune of sorts in Las Vegas, and surrounded himself with all the right people in his “happiness” quest.
There’s reports that said as soon as COVID hit he could no longer put together his large scale events, that’s what started his downward spiral. Large groups of people made him “happy!”
That’s all so superficial, and very sad.
Please note, I’m not judging Tony. I’m making a mere assessment of the articles I’ve read and YouTube interviews I’ve watched.
It sounds like Tony surrounded himself with people who adored him. Of course if you pay people to adore you… they probably will!
He started a commune of sorts in Utah and bought million dollar homes where he housed his “adoring” cult followers where he treated them like “royal” guests.
He’d have dinners with them where he sipped Ferenet, an Italian amaro ( bitter) and took shots of “whip it’s” ( nitrous oxide aka laughing gas).
I find it interesting that he indulged in bitters and laughing gas. So apropos for someone looking for happiness!
Jewel, the singer, noticed he was in trouble and sent him a hand written letter warning that she saw he was in danger. She FedEx’d him the letter the next day… Jewel is a good friend who tried to wake this guy up from his egomaniac delusional dream world.
Why didn’t the others see what Jewel saw? Why didn’t they try and warn Tony that sucking nitrous was bad for his brain? Because when you are paying for superficial people to sit by your side and make you “happy” they are going to ignore the drama that you are causing for yourself!
A famous friend of mine talked about his personal existential crisis on my podcast. I asked why no one called him out on his behavior? He said “ because I was the boss!”
Personally, if I’m acting out of character, my friends like Jewel, will call me out on my bullshit. Those are good friends… yes I treat them well, but I don’t pay them to be my friends!
Who knows what was really going on in Tony’s brain? His death remains a mystery and the end of his life story is all very strange.
On a recent hike to the Griffith park observatory with a man I was dating, I asked him if he had seen the moon the night before? His response “ I hadn’t thought of it?” I really thought this was strange and a bit sad. Looking at the moon brings me much pleasure. Yes, this poor guy was having a dark night of the soul of his own.
After working in healthcare for 25 years, I’ve seen lot’s of people of all ages suffering. I’ve seen lots of people of all ages die.
I’m not sure if Tony Hsieh had the same experiences that I have. Perhaps if he did, he would know happiness is as simple as the air you breathe. It’s as simple as the sun that shines. It’s as simple as looking up at the moon before you close your eyes at night. It’s really just being.