Happiness cannot be bought.
It can’t be taken by force either.
Those facts were reinforced last week when I read an article about a mega-rich singer and then watched the 1980s film classic, The Karate Kid.
I’d seen the film before so I already knew the theme, but reading the article and watching the film on the same day made me realise they are related.
The headline on the article was, ‘The Sadness of Lady Gaga,’ and the point was that the superstar singer is not happy.
She thinks her fame is destroying her love life, she is afraid she will not be able to have kids and she feels sorry for herself.
“I just want to go on tour and have a family. I never get it right. My love life has imploded,” she said.
The 31-year-old American’s complaints may sound a bit rich to those of you who live in the real world, but I do have some sympathy for her.
I mean she has done exactly what western society told her she should do if she wanted to live a happy life.
She worked hard to develop a skill, tailored her looks to her market, sold herself to the world and became rich and famous.
All her life she has been told those things would make her happy, so if they haven’t worked, I can understand why she would feel frustrated and sad.
The same kind of thing happened to Johnny, the ring leader of the nasty karate students in The Karate Kid. He was the reigning fight champion and he thought he could just take, or take-back, whatever he wanted, including his former girlfriend who decided she would rather be with Daniel, the hero of the film.
Johnny was wrong, of course, but believe it or not, I also have sympathy for him.
He was being taught to use karate as an offensive weapon so he could take what he wanted, instead of to defend himself, by a twisted instructor.
Like Lady Gaga, he was doing what he was told to do but he didn’t get what was promised, and according to Daniel’s instructor, that wasn’t his fault.
“No such thing as bad student,”Mr Miyogi said in the film, “only bad teacher.”
The deep-thinking Japanese karate expert said many other wise things, but the point he kept coming back to with Daniel was that to be good at karate he would need to develop balance.
Then he said, “Lesson not just for karate, for whole life. Have balance, everything better.”
That’s the way he talks in the film. It might sound funny, but it makes a lot of sense, and by the time Daniel overcomes some foul play to capture Johnny’s karate crown, we can see that Johnny is becoming a convert.
That’s leaves us feeling there is hope the bully will mend his ways and find happiness.
It also suggests if Lady Gaga and the rest of us try to establish more balance in our lives instead of focusing on fame, money and power, we might find happiness as well.