Robbie Williams alleged Andropause and the Problem of Motivation for Successful Men

The other day I chanced upon a video by Robbie Williams, who was one of the world’s biggest music stars about ten years ago. Out of curiosity, I looked him up on Wikipedia. The first observation was that he has aged really badly. I guess decades of partying do that to you. What I found more interesting, though, was the following:

He revealed in 2011 he had been battling lethargy caused by a type of hormone imbalance called andropause for a number of years and thought at first it was a return of his depression.

Robbie Williams has had a highly successful life. I’d say his success has been defying the odds, considering that he got his big break as a member of a boy band, Take That. He is also the most successful of his former colleagues. Unlike a lot of artists who rose to fame and eventually disappear, he didn’t seem to expect that the party will never end. In that Wikipedia article, for instance, we also learn that he as a net worth of about ninety million pounds, that’s around 126 million bucks at today’s rate. By any measure, he is fabulously wealthy.

The obvious observation is that there are not so many hills left to climb for him. He has been at the top of his professions. He doesn’t need any more money. Consequently, it’s quite plausible that he feels a lack of motivation. His life’s work is complete. There is nothing else to do. He has filled the largest arenas in the world, sold a gazillion of records, banged the hottest supermodels.

Of course, what I just wrote was partly facetious, but there is a lot of truth to it. People are “hungry” when they want to achieve some measure of success, whatever the area may be, but once you reach your goals, you’re done, for the time being. You could now keep working at it, or look for something new. This relates to an observation I’ve made with a few friends and acquaintances. I know about a handful of people who have or have had the vague goal of “writing a book”. Having a book out under their name is what their want. Once they achieve that, they normally aren’t so keen on writing another book, even if it sold more copies than they anticipated. That is easy to understand, because going from zero to one book is a much greater achievement than going from n > 0 books to n + 1 books. Worse, it may seem like work at that point.

I also have a friend who has been working on his great novel for about ten years now. I think he is afraid of releasing it because for about eight years he wants to release it “in summer”. It can of course be daunting to release something with your name on it, even if it is a pseudonym. His case is even more extreme because he’s now procrastinating by working on a two-volume novel that is — yes, you guessed it right — also almost done. He wants to release that one before his first novel. I think his problem is that he built an ego around being an author and fantasizing about its potential success instead of finishing his work and looking for a new hill to climb. That guy is caught in limbo.

What all of this leads to is that most people are, at one point, done, and if they are not done yet, they have a good idea of when that will be the case. They’ve achieved professional success, raised a family, written their book, mastered an artistic skill, or built a company. Quite a few realize, on the way, that they liked the idea a lot more than its realization. One way or the other, they will be done striving. At one point, you stop being hungry. I think the only way to stay productive for a long stretch of time is if you are internally motivated, if not obsessed. However, this is a personality trait, which I don’t think it is possible to acquire if you don’t have it. If you’re externally motivated, you’ll live out your life, climbing a few hills as you go along, and, as Schopenhauer would put it, try to minimize pain and boredom.

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10 thoughts on “Robbie Williams alleged Andropause and the Problem of Motivation for Successful Men

  1. And then there’s people who can “just chill”.
    I never understood that. These are the people who have average/below average paying jobs. Some of them smoke weed, others (a huge part of them actually) don’t.
    Like, doesn’t it bother them that whatever they are making now will not be enough for retirement? It has worked out for the baby boomers, but for your and my generation “just chill” won’t do it.
    “Just chill” is the other extreme of obsessed – instead of chasing the next hill, it means not chasing anything, “because there’s always some one who’s better than you, so why bother…”

    I sometimes don’t know if I should be jealous of those who can “just chill”, or if I should avoid these people like the plague. Considering their jealousy when I can afford things which they can’t, I stick to the latter.

  2. I’ve completed and released books and other artforms and the biggest hurdle for me is my perfectionism. I hate the idea of putting something out there that isn’t 99% close to my initial vision and it means I don’t put out as much as I could. It doesn’t help that some of those projects require me to rely on other people.

  3. For non rock stars among us… When have you “made” it??

    Is it reaching a certain notch count with chicks?
    Having €1 million in the bank by 35?
    Reading Jon’s comments and not getting irritated because you don’t give a crap to those people?

    1. Using those stated goals as a guide, I’d suggest the following:
      1) Having fucked so many girls that you don’t bother much about yet another one, just for the purpose of sex. Depending on the individual, the actual number will vary widely.
      2) Being financially secure enough, e.g. having enough money in the bank to cover a few years’ worth of living expenses
      3) Indeed, not caring enough about morons to get upset about them.

      1. Agree with age 35 – seems good to me.
        1) –> Agree. I think for most of us this is/was at the low double digit mark. At least it’s now for me. At a net-of-hookers laycount of say20, one has probably seen 95% of the available range of chicks.
        2) I don’t like the notion of cash burn i.e. your principal being eaten away. So I’d increase your metric by saying that you have enough principal to produce an interest/divided stream (or whatever cash flow, e.g. rent) of 2 times the median salary in your country of residence assuming a 2-3% p.a. after-tax return.
        So, at $100k desired cash flow (assumed $50k median salary in your region) and 3% after tax return p.a. this is a rough $3.5mio in principal (i.e. investing capital). Talking about bare minimum.
        3) Agree: not giving a fuck about morons is part of it.

        Not trying to brag, but another nice bull run in the crypto market like December 2017 and I’m there and can make a check-mark on all 3 points.

    2. I don’t think a number is a good metric. Because it depends a lot more on reasoning ability and deductive logic .

      One guy could “get it” with just 10 lays, and other might take 150 lays to get it.

      Also, hookers can be part of the process. As in filling in the gaps.

      Let’s say you’ve laid every type of girl except type x. You’ve seen that there’s no magical kind of a lay that meets the hype. There’s no lay that’s (10,000x better than jerking off).

      But you’re bothered about not having laid x. Hiring an escort who’s type x might fill in the necessary gap. It might be enough to deduce “there’s nothing special about body-type x. I doubt there will be anything magical IG I lay a type-x chick for free. There wasn’t anything special about the previous 17 types. And this hooker was good evidence that x is probably not magical either”.

      So you can arrive at that point where you’re no longer bothered about getting that next lay.

      1. “It might be enough to deduce (…)”

        Oh no, don’t get me wrong, hookers are absolutely part of the game, maybe more than I’d like to admit. I say that in a sense that I might have been putting too much effort in my first couple of lays with the return of rather mediocre sex.
        Still, you don’t learn to “read the signs” with hookers. The “green/orange/red” in Aaron’s Minimal Game, you need to experience through real live interactions/pick ups.
        But yeah, maybe I put much emphasis on the fact if one counts the hookers to his lay count or not. I just separated them on my modest little list 🙂

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