- Catherine Peters
Moby- The Pursuit of Happiness
Updated: May 26, 2020
When you’ve reached the pinnacle of success (however you wish to define it), then what? What does success even mean and does it even equate to happiness?
My VERY FIRST GUEST and one of the most inspiring people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing just so happens to be one of the greatest recording artists of all time, MOBY.
In this refreshingly honest, hilarious and no-holds-barred conversation, we explore what true happiness means from someone who was the epitome of career success, fame and fortune. Be warned, this is equal parts hilarious, heart-warming and tear jerking!
Moby’s story is one of grit, triumph and resilience – from humble beginnings growing up on food stamps and welfare to becoming a household name with a career envied by many. We see how the struggling, musician went on to revolutionize the music industry all while ‘obsessively’ pursuing material happiness. What was it that led to the star’s bottoming out and how did he use rock-bottom as a foundation for self-actualization and a life of philanthropy, minimalism and activism?
I caught up with Moby at his Los Angeles home (full video available on YouTube). I ask him about his humble beginnings and the impact that his rags to riches journey has had on his idea of success now.
“I was born in Harlem and grew up very poor and lived on food stamps and welfare. My friends used to go to the Bahamas for the holidays to go sailing or to Switzerland to go skiing. I assumed even the slightest bit of money would make me the happiest person. Strangely, paradoxically, the more successful I had, the less happy I become.”
As his love and curiosity for music grew, he began playing in little punk rock bands. He got really open honest about what it was like as a GOAT (God Of All Things) in the music industry – the sex, drugs and rock and roll and how that led to him to a bottom where everything he has learned has arisen from that point.
Success and Happiness
What I love about Moby is his humility, unique perception of the world, and level of self-actualization. A philosophy student, his ability to look back on lis career and be profoundly grateful for everything he’s been through and his unique outlook on life, is both refreshing and inspiring.
Moby’s quick to point out that the world has very specific metrics for success and he’s very open about how he “went as far in the world of material success as an individual in our society can go” and how that did not make him happy. He openly admits of his "desperate attempts" to find happiness in materialistic things and feeling so "mad and sad" when he wasn’t fulfilled by them. Even with the launch of the album, Play, which revolutionized the music industry, and performing to hundreds of thousands of people, he admits that “Success can be so deceitful. People rarely learn much from success.”
With a serious of number one hits, Grammy nominations and household name status comes the Rockstar lifestyle of which Moby is no stranger. Now sober, he recalls "doing drugs with strangers which was not a good use of a life" and the very thing that led him to a point that his life was "unmanageable."
Advice on Failure and Rejection
Moby’s philosophical and esoteric view on life and his fascination with the human brain makes for some thought-provoking listening. We talk about where fear comes from and how thousands of years later, we haven’t fully learned to train our brain away from fear . “Our brain is the smartest and dumbest thing on the planet,” Moby explains.
I wanted to know if Moby had any advice for viewers and what type of mindset he had to adopt in order to be extraordinarily successful. Talent aside, Moby is a firm believer that life is cause and effect and he shares 3 PROFOUND KEYS FOR SUCCESS AND TURNING FAILURE TO YOUR ADVANTAGE (I’ll leave that for you to check out!). Above all else, Moby believes that success comes from loving what you do. Because Moby didn’t know how to do anything else other than play music, he’s a firm believer on having no Plan B, though that’s not what he’d necessarily advise other people!
Wellbeing and Building a Successful Foundation
Moby credits much of his (and anyone’s) success to having a strong work ethic. “Something can come from, nothing but it usually doesn’t last nor is it fulfilling.”
We explored the idea of wellbeing, particularly for driven, Type A people. In particular, Moby shares his insight into the importance of getting back to basics and the four pillars of wellbeing as being the foundation for true, intrinsic and sustainable happiness.
Speaking of ethics, Moby’s a strong advocate for animal rights, a die-hard vegan and philanthropist and drops a lot of wisdom as to why and how we can learn to live with more purpose and be part of something much bigger than ourselves.