Shooting a Fly with a Shotgun

Once success happens you can no longer say, “I will continue my life now as it was before.” Tennessee Williams in his masterpiece, “The Catastrophe of Success,” lays out a manifesto for the wealthy. His writing is neither flattery of wealth nor demeaning of the trappings that follow. Instead, he points to the mindset that must accompany those with money. Live life to the fullest – carefully.

Williams explains how the struggle to become wealthy causes a sharpening of the mind, but when success arrives our limitations disappear and we can become a “sword cutting daisies.” In other words, unproductive and misdirected like shooting a fly with a shotgun. It’s easy to lose the carefulness that accompanies lack, once lack is no more. There is a lesson here.

Once you have money, the only governor on your ideas is self-control, and self-control can be easily bribed. When you have money, there’s no limitation on what can be accomplished, which is good and bad. We know the good part; the bad part is this: without discretion there is no prudence. When you lack resources, you necessarily think differently, you necessarily stay away from certain things, certain people, certain investments.

Sometimes the best gift in life is unanswered prayers because at times “yes” can be far more dangerous than “no.” I’m an advocate of enjoying life to the fullest – carefully. I’ve learned that the greatest freedom is structured freedom.