Paradox of Success: Is There a Downside to Winning?
How can being a success possibly
be a problem? Don't we all want to be winners? In fact, there are
potentially negative consequences in achieving our goals and in
being known as a successful person. This article takes a look at
the 20 paradoxical factors in success and formulates some strategies
to deal with the inevitable challenges that surround anyone who
strives for success.
The Paradox of Success
Is There A Downside To Winning?
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
How can being a success possibly be a problem?
Don't we all want to be winners? In fact, there are potentially
negative consequences in achieving our goals and in being known
as a successful person.
Let's take a look at this paradoxical phenomenon and formulate some
strategies to deal with the inevitable challenges that surround
anyone who strives for success.
What are some of the paradoxes of playing the
1. In order to succeed big, you could become
a workaholic, a very common downside.
2. You may have no balance in your life, or outside interests to
help you enjoy life or reduce stress.
3. You may be putting all your eggs into one basket, and if you
fail, be devastated.
4. You may take your success campaign too seriously and lose your
perspective and sense of humor.
5. The rest of life may pass you by with you burying yourself in
your work. There may be missed opportunities because you have your
nose to the grindstone.
6. You become so good at what you do that you fall victim to the
golden handcuffs syndrome, where you may be unwilling to change
due to possibly losing all the benefits success has brought you.
7. You may become so successful that you get fat and happy, take
your eye off the ball and lose your motivation.
8. Success means your learning curve is continually climbing to
handle the new vistas success opens for you. It seems as if change
is happening at a constant rate.
9. Competitors now actively strategize about unseating your success
and you become a potential target for the unwanted competitive warfare
they will wage against you.
10. You may make enemies when before, you were not important enough
to be hated.
11. You may leave your peers and friends behind, symbolically and
literally, when you raise the bar.
12. It's harder to stay at the top than to get there. It was tough
succeeding, but repeating it may even be more difficult. It takes
more time, more planning, and with your new distractions and obligations,
keeping focus is even more demanding.
13. Your actions may take on new levels of importance such that
before it was nice to succeed, where now, you must succeed, or other
people fail with you.
14. Maintaining new levels of performance brings new demands on
your time and new responsibilities you've never had.
15. Your private life may suffer if you become highly recognizable.
People will want to approach you and have a piece of your time and
16. The bar has been raised on your performance levels so your old
habits and processes may not work. You may have to create new systems
to maintain your success.
17. People will expect you to succeed repeatedly. There is a new
pressure to perform to a level that was not there before. You are
aware of people watching and waiting for you to repeat your success.
18. Change itself is scary. It's easier to maintain status quo and
go along unthinkingly. Change brings us into the unknown with its
mix of exciting adventure and scary possibilities.
19. Being a success can limit you by having people place you into
a new set of expectations of how they view you. They see you as
being successful at a specific thing and may not consider that you
are able to expand your abilities and talents.
20. You may be expected to assume leadership positions. People will
look to you for advice and as being a model of virtue. Your behavior
will be examined more closely.
So we see now that success CAN bring stress into your life. This
is not to say that there is nothing good about becoming a success.
Clearly, there are many exciting benefits. The wise and enlightened
striver towards success, however, undertakes the achievement journey
with eyes wide open and consciously chooses what experiences to
embrace and which ones to shun.
Copyright © 2011-
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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