What did you think of the Wolf of Wall street? If you haven’t seen it, you definitely should; it was directed by Martin Scorsese (so you know it will be hard hitting) and Leonardo DiCaprio acts his backside off as the corrupt and crazy Jordan Belfort. It’s based on the true story of a man who made millions and millions trading fraudulently on Wall Street. He had more money that he knew what to do with and, from the outside looking in, the perfect life – huge house, yachts, super cars, beautiful wife etc etc but something was obviously not quite right. Why? Well, basically, because he couldn’t function without drugs, snorting and pill popping his way through every day and endlessly searching for the next high. Everything he did in life was about excess – apparently his bachelor party alone cost $2 million and was a weekend of non-stop partying with unlimited drugs and hookers! Jordan Belfort ending up losing his company, his family, his friends and his liberty (he served 22 months in prison for securities fraud and money laundering). Apparently he’s turned his life around now and is an author and motivational speaker but it seems like he spent a fair few years of his life trying to destroy himself and everyone around him.
Compare his story to that of Ajahn Brahm, an English born and Cambridge educated Buddhist monk. He is also a successful author and a motivational speaker but his path to these achievements is very different to that of Mr Belfort. The life of a Buddhist monk is not an easy one – he tells stories of being eaten alive by mosquitoes and not being able to kill them because it was against his beliefs – can you imagine just allowing mosquitoes to bite you???? In terms of religious figures he’s outrageous in his own way; There’s a video from him here entitled ‘holy shit and holy water’. He has also, like Jordan Belfort, courted his fair share of controversy; he was eventually excommunicated because he refused to agree that he was wrong to have ordained women. Unlike the Wolf of Wall Street, Ajahn Brahm owns literally nothing, has no income and even relies on his followers for his meals. Despite this he appears to be constantly cheerful and at absolute peace with himself and his life.
I don’t think that money is the key here; I think Jordan Belfort would have indulged his compulsive personality regardless of wealth but I also think that his compulsive personality was what drove him to success. By the same token, by virtue of his personality type, Ajahm Brahm would probably have followed the same path even if he’d come into billions because his driving force is the search for peace.
What do you think? Are people destined to be what they are destined to be regardless of the path they chose or can we change who we fundamentally are and find peace and happiness regardless of what happens to us in life????