Lessons on Living from the Death of Robin Williams
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People around the world ask how could a man who was so funny and have everything that anybody could want go out that way. This article will look at what Robin Williams’s sudden death teaches us as well as see how it applies to our own personal growth and self-development.
First off, Robin Williams’s genius at comedy tells us that maybe he was using his humor to cover up his depression. Although, people the world over that followed him for years knew that he suffered from major depression and struggled with drug and alcohol issues. Ancient teachings say that laughter is the best medicine; therefore, when someone is really struggling in life, it is not uncommon for them to try and “laugh it off”. They tend to find happiness in entertaining others so it is actually a selfless act as it takes their mind off of their own depression. That is likely how Robin managed to last more than six generations without taking his life at a much younger age.
Secondly, Robin was worth an estimated $50 million. Although it was more than twice that a year before he died. Robin Williams once made a statement, not long before he died, that he was near bankruptcy. Robin’s publicist denied this after the comic genius’s death, stating the he was not to be taken seriously. When do you ever take a man like Robin Williams seriously; the man who dressed up as the maid in Mrs. Doubtfire and played the comedian doctor in Patch Adams?
A closer look at Robin Williams’s estate showed that half of his net worth was his two real estate properties. One was the Villa Sorriest in Napa Valley, California. That literally translates to “Valley of Smiles”. Does that sound like someone who didn’t find something in life to be happy about? If he didn’t he would not have made it 63 years. He also had a waterfront home in Tiburton, California. The value of both properties, minus the mortgages, was approximately $25 million. His family reported that he took care of its members and he even left a sizable trust fund to each of his three children.
What can we take away from the tragic suicide of Robin Williams that will aid us in our personal growth?
It is obvious that one lesson that we can learn from Robin is that money cannot buy happiness. You can own everything under the sun and still be lonely; especially if you have a multitude of “friends” who only like you for what you have instead of who you are. While material wealth is a blessing and our work can be a source of blessing when we find something that we love to do, if we have not achieved a certain level of self-development in our lives, a high net worth will make us shallow if we sincerely believe that possessions make us happy. We are to be stewards of our possessions. If we have the false notion that they are the source of our happiness, they will own us. The result will be an unending desire for satisfaction that will somehow leave us wanting more
Something else that we can take away from the demise of the beloved actor/comedian is that sometimes what we excel at in life may be the thing that we struggle with in our own life. If we struggle to be happy in life, we may find happiness and a sense of purpose in making others happy. As Victor Frankl states in the last sentence of his book Man’s search for meaning, “we find our happiness in helping others to find theirs”. Perhaps this will help us in our own commitment to self-development and personal growth as we search for something to give our lives meaning: what is it that we struggle with the most? For that may be our “calling” in life and service to others if you will. Also, Robin Williams had to have found something to make him happy if you look at the name of his Napa Valley estate, Villa Sorrisso (Valley of Smiles); it was helping others to laugh and feel happy.