In pursuit of happiness

Other than one of the important things in life being the search for a good meal with excellent wine, there’s not many things that Michael Winner says that I normally find myself agreeing with: but his reasons for turning down an OBE in the queens honours’ list ring unfortunately true: things have changed so much in the world that people are getting congratulated for the smallest things, we seem to have come to a stage where people expect a pat on the back and recognition for everything they do, regardless of whether it’s something they’ve chosen to do, or simply something they have to do.

Winner’s example of someone cleaning the toilets at Kings Cross Station isn’t far off the mark if you look at some of the recent lists, yes there are still a fair number of people in the list that are doing genuinely good things, but amidst them are people like Beckham, who get paid a huge amount for what they do, and people who don’t seem to have done anything other than turn up to work for 40 years without being unfortunate enough to have had a cold that has stopped them from turning up… it’s a little like the students nowadays who instead of being incentivesed by simply wanting to excel themselves they’re now being paid to turn up to classes, I’m all for giving people reasons to do well, but money and accolade are supposed to come after you’ve done the hard work, nowadays with the growing expectation of instant gratification people just don’t seem to think that the hard work to get somewhere good seems to be worth doing.

I think it’s about time that there was a culture shift in the UK, we need to take our work more seriously, stop thinking that we’re entitled to ‘everything, Now’ and start a real understanding in the population that if you work hard you’ll be rewarded, and that there isn’t a shortcut to fortune, wealth, gratification, accolade and fame: Obviously people will point to people like BB entrants, or lottery winners, but they’re few and far between, and they’re not; as much as the media would like to tell us: representative of the real population. It’s not all about money, as David Cameron pointed out so wisely earlier this week, it’s about how happy you feel, and it’s perfectly possible to be happy and only moderately well off, you don’t need millions, or even thousands to be content that you’re making a difference to the world and to your own life… although I’d be telling porkies if I said that money didn’t figure in many people’s idea of what happiness is.

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