Mozart was a genius. He composed his first piece at the age of 5 and began to perform in professional public concerts at the age of 6. He achieved (and exceeded) the compositional and performance levels of many great adults of his time while he was still a child.
However, there was a cost to all of this achievement. Mozart died on December 5, 1791 at the age of only 35. The official cause of death was said to be military fever, but many people debate the true cause. The limited knowledge of medicine during that day prevented an accurate diagnosis. Many people speculate that the constant stress of public performance, composing more great musical works and staying out of financial trouble took a huge toll on his body.
We see the same results on many great performers today. Robin Williams, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Karen Carpenter and Philip Seymour Hoffman are just a few examples. The mental and physical toll placed on people of public prominence (especially in the entertainment world) can be devastating. There is a constant pressure to live up to or exceed your past performances. In addition, this type of life leads to sever feelings of loneliness. Fans and paparazzi force entertainment stars to remain secluded. They find it difficult to form meaningful relationships with others since it is difficult for them to relate to other people. For Mozart, this was especially difficult. He was both extremely popular and mentally advanced far beyond most ordinary people. Many modern stars seek to marry other stars, but the lifestyle of a star is not always conducive to faithful marriage commitments.
The lesson to learn here is that we are only human. Being driven to achieve greatness is a wonderful quality, but it is important to maintain a balanced life. Everyone needs times of rest and relaxation. Everyone needs meaningful relationships with other people. Health and longevity of life can lead to even great success by giving us more time to achieve it. So, we should all learn to find the proper balance between drive and rest.