A recent study has found that paradoxically elected leaders have shorter lives than those who lose the elections.
While nobody wants to be a loser (literally or figuratively) sometimes taking the consolation prize is better than winning the 1st prize trophy. For one thing those individuals who nearly became leaders have longevity in their cards.
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On the contrary, leaders who get elected and are in the limelight end up having years shaved off their normal life span. Thus Mitt Romney might get to live longer (on a relative basis) than Barack Obama, according to two new studies.
The studies are still incomplete. That’s because the results are conflicting. But it appears to be the case that leaders who lead nations have shorter lives and the law of compensation also holds here.
Thus those losing out to these so-called lucky leaders are likely to lead longer lives. Especially, presidents tend to age twice as quickly as opposed to non-elected has-beens and also-rans.
The latest research gathers data from 17 nations where elections were held. The period in time spans from 1722 to 2015. Elected leaders had 2.7 fewer years to live on average and were at a 23% higher risk of early death.
This was in sharp contrast to the defeated lot that had run against them and been found wanting. The stresses and strains of political office took their toll on the presidents, prime ministers and chancellors.
Testing the hypothesis that leaders ended up facing burn-out was not an easy proposal. It took indirect tools and difficult methods of analysis to determine whether the heads of state faced stormier conditions that were not conducive to mental health. Grey hair and wrinkles were factors that seemed to accelerate as one led the nation through thick and thin.
As the Wildean saying goes: “There are only two tragedies in the world. One is not getting what you want and the other one is getting it!”
So be careful what you wish for. You might get it. Some may envy President Obama as the leader of the Free World and the most powerful man in the world, but they don’t know what a crown of thorns he wears on his head.
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Indeed, uneasy is the head that wears the crown. Leadership is less of a benefit and more of a liability. Being at the top also means a lot of responsibility and many people just buckle under this extra burden and pressure. It is a case of the last feather that broke the camel’s back.