The wonderful and dark side of success

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Success is associated with that which is positive and admirable, and failure is associated with that which is negative and repulsive. Everyone wants to be successful; nobody wants to be a failure. Still, what is regarded as success may differ from one person to another based on different perspectives. What Richard may consider as a success may be acknowledged by Lincoln as a waste of time. Accomplished missionary works, while considered a success by religious people, would certainly be looked upon as insignificant by irreligious people. To some people, the act of writing blogs and self-development books is creative and meaningful, and to other people, it is wasteful and depressing.

Regardless of the differences in the perspectives held by different people as regards the definition of success, true success is experienced when you set a goal and accomplish the goal; however great or small that goal is. If you set out to paint your room, and you completed the painting, you have achieved success in painting your room. However, to achieve unparalleled success in an activity requires great intelligence and plenty of courage. This is the kind of success that has been achieved by Aristotle, Einstein, Mozart, Picasso, and Michael Jackson. This kind of success is not easy to achieve, and that is what makes it so valuable and worthwhile.

A person’s success becomes great the moment such person’s accomplishment becomes exceptional. Great success makes you stand out from the crowd. It generates a wonderful feeling and helps you understand that you can do so much more with your life; it enables you to realize that you are capable of extraordinary things, and that’s a great feeling. Most times, great success is accompanied by great wealth, fame, and influence. You feel distinguished, important, honorable, and desirable. It raises your self-esteem and makes you more confident. You are more likely to live in luxury, traveling wherever you want, and basking in the great respect and admiration shown to you by so many people. Great success is indeed desirable.

As wonderful as achieving great success is, it also has its dark side. We may envy what great achievers have done, and in fact wish to be like them someday, but unknowing to us are those undesirables they have to deal with. The way to great success, and the nature of great success are not as enjoyable as they seem. While success is beautiful, successful people do not necessarily experience the eternal bliss we tend to imagine. Some of the dark side of success are therefore discussed below.

Little time for family and friends

Great achievers seem to love their ambitions or passionate activities more than they love their family, even though they hate to admit this. They tend to spend more time, psychic energy, and money on achieving success in their desired endeavors than they spend with their loved ones. This way of life is perfectly opposite to how most people live; as most people tend to value spending time with their family and friends than on their work and hobbies. 

It is true that to achieve great success in one’s endeavor, one must be willing to sacrifice a great chunk of their social hours and convert them to work-time. This simply means that the lesser the time they spend with their loved ones, and the more the time they spend focusing on their goals, the greater will be the tendency of achieving success in their endeavors. And this propensity to spend little time socializing with family and friends can have a rather negative impact on their lives. 

Tendency to be a perfectionist

Highly successful people understand that success distinguishes them from most other people, and therefore don’t expect to achieve similar results as those of most other people. They expect their work/accomplishments to be superior to those of others, and this often gives rise to perfectionism. Striving to achieve great success is an endeavor deeply rooted in the consciousness of competition; if you existed in a vacuum, without anyone existing, you wouldn’t strive to stand out. Being competitive is bound to make you a perfectionist. Perfectionism then gives rise to anxiety, self-doubt, low self-confidence, and a lower quality of life. It should therefore be noted that great achievers are sometimes beset by low self-confidence and feeling of being inadequate.


Most people share similar values, interests, views, and beliefs which are at variance with those shared by highly successful people. The social needs of highly successful people will be satisfied if they surround themselves with people of equal status; people who share their views, interests, ambitions, etc. Unfortunately, such people are extremely few, far away, and too busy with their ambitions. 

While most highly successful people may appear as though they are too busy to socialize (or as though they hate to socialize), they have social needs like everybody else, and crave human connection. They want to be able to share their ideas, communicate with people who understand them, and spend time with people who like them want to accomplish great things. In reality, however, most common people find highly successful people intimidating, arrogant, and boring, and prefer to socialize with people like them. This makes it more difficult for highly successful people to engage in enjoyable social activities, even if they wanted to connect with these people. 

Their increasing avoidance of social activities because of their high value of time, which reflects in their judicious use of time in accomplishing their goals, is bound to make them more socially inept, socially awkward, and socially anxious. Social confabs are supposed to be exciting, and since these people cannot create such excitement, they are usually avoided. It is therefore not unusual for highly successful people to feel lonely.