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Are You A One-Hit Wonderer?

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”

Andy Grove


I’ve seen so many folks realize some success, start to enjoy the comforts of it, become complacent and begin a downward spiral.  I’ve seen it with people in their corporate careers, with entrepreneurs, with special operations warriors, athletes, politicians, coaches, actors, singers, ministers, and the list goes on.  It makes me very sad to see this phenomenon, especially when it happens to a past mentor, coach, or someone I held as a model for my own success.  They rest on their past success, get fat and happy, and it’s only a matter of time before they find themselves at the bottom end of things.  There are many examples of declining performers succumbing to the stupor induced by drugs, alcohol, excessive junk food, or just resting on laurels in general.

I hate to see it happen to others, but I would hate it even more if it happened to me.  Paranoid might be a good word for it, or as Captain Jack Sparrow would say, “I like to keep a weather eye open.”  I’m vigilant times ten about becoming complacent.  Complacent means to be content, self-satisfied, pleased with yourself, and showing satisfaction with things as they are.  This shouldn’t be confused with confidence which is the self-assurance that come as a result of success.

There is a fine line between confidence and complacency, between self-assured and self-satisfied.  I walk that line like I’m on a high wire over Niagara Falls without a safety harness.  I know that the great performers are never content with yesterday’s results.  What if Thomas Edison was satisfied with the phonograph? No light-bulb.  What if he was content with his life’s work after the light-bulb? No motion pictures.  Most people I know would have been more than OK with just one of those things, sold the patent to the guys on the Shark Tank, and retired to the islands. (NOTE: The Shark Tankers aren’t content nor satisfied, and neither should we be.)

Be ever aware that success breeds complacency, and the downward spiral which leads to becoming a one-hit wonder or an invitation to appear on Celebrity Fit Club, (or to do a construction show with the Amish).

Boo Yah!

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