Victim of one’s own success. Sounds paradoxical.
But we see it all the time. And it doesn’t have to be you — it won’t be you if you have a solid enough foundation.
Victim of own success: meaning
To become a victim of your own success means to experience the disadvantages of success after achieving it.
It could also mean to be unable to handle success and fame, for example because they come with more responsibilities, stress, and obstacles.
Whether we like it or not, becoming successful can make you vulnerable, not just to others but to your own thoughts and emotions as well.
What if you become successful but then feel guilty because of it? What if your partner, friends, or family do not like the new, successful you?
Is it possible to be a victim of your success?
Unfortunately, being a victim of your success isn’t just possible, but likely, if you chase success for the wrong reasons or if success turns out to be more stressful than you originally thought.
There are many different reasons as to why one can be a victim of success (we’ll get to that in a second) and these aren’t really abstract theories, but facts.
Successful people who develop mental health issues and commit suicide. Celebrities who feel the most devastating sense of emptiness.
Or even lottery winners who end up being in a worse financial situation, almost without realizing. How many times have we heard of such stories?
One could say that “it would have happened anyway”, with or without success, but then why is it that these things happen after success rather than before?
I’m sure this doesn’t apply to you, but the truth is that at times success can be both a friend and an enemy, so you want to be aware of all the potential “side effects” on your path to success.
Have a look at the following tips…
To avoid becoming a victim of your own success…
1. Don’t self sabotage
Having to protect yourself from success and what it implies sounds as surreal as the thought of sabotaging one’s own success.
Yet it can happen. Feelings of guilt can get in the way and you may end up thinking you don’t deserve success, and unconsciously become your worst enemy.
2. Remember your why
The longer the gap between your desire and your success (and if you have truly life-changing goals, it’s likely to be a big one), the harder it may be to remember why you started in the first place.
The genuine idea of success, e.g. one’s realization and fulfillment, often turns into external, artificial goals such as money and fame, so you have to always remember your why, your true purpose.
3. Keep things to yourself
Don’t overshare. Keep your secrets. Don’t base your self-worth on what everybody else thinks of you because it’s a game you are destined to lose in the long run.
The more successful you are, the more people will notice that, so it’s important to keep your private life private and not to be exposed unnecessarily.
4. Don’t identify
Let’s say that once you reach success you somehow turn into a character that isn’t really you (the obvious example would be actors and celebrities).
While there is nothing wrong with that per se, and while that character may benefit your image, you must know who you are and how to be yourself, otherwise you will identify with someone that isn’t you.
5. Cultivate gratitude
Epicurus once wrote: nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.
The bad news: if you cannot be grateful for what you have right now, success won’t fill that void. The good news: you can learn to be grateful, and never take things for granted and make success even sweeter.
6. Learn to adapt
We think happiness and success never last long, but it’s false. Even taking into account bad luck, life’s unpredictability, things you cannot control etc. it mostly has to do with our mindset.
Yes, things change, and you could lose what you call success at any time. However, if you know how to adapt and how to be flexible, you’ll be very close to invincibility.
7. Be humble
Lastly, never allow any of your achievements to change your relationship with others.
Success may be proof that you are smart, creative, determined, and so on. But never think that it makes you better, or superior. It’s a trap that can easily lead to inner tension.
Victim of own success: quotes
Human beings invent just as many ways to sabotage their lives as to improve them.Mark Goulston
There may be gold and jade to fill a hall — but there is none who can keep them. To be overbearing when one has wealth and position — is to bring calamity upon oneself. To retire when the task is accomplished — is the way of heaven.Lao Tzu
I have a limited tolerance for feeling good. When I hit my Upper Limit, I manufacture thoughts that make me feel bad. The problem is bigger than just my internal feelings, though: I seem to have a limited tolerance for my life going well in general.Gay Hendricks
Fame is like caviar, you know — it’s good to have caviar but not when you have it at every meal.Marilyn Monroe
What is required for many of us, paradoxical though it may sound, is the courage to tolerate happiness without self sabotage.Nathaniel Branden
Do not chase happiness. Instead, define success for yourself. Then go out and live it. Be unapologetic in your commitment and honorable in your behavior. When you live in this manner, happiness chases you.Steve Maraboli
Once you agree upon the price you and your family must pay for success, it enables you to ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure, and the temporary failures.Vince Lombardi
This is why people recklessly spend their money or don’t work as hard as they could or do things that they know are wrong. They are hindering their own success on purpose, because they don’t think they deserve it. They cut their own legs out from underneath them on purpose.Lisa Bedrick
Being self-critical is good; being self-hating is destructive. There is a very fine line there somewhere, and I walk it carefully.Daniel Radcliffe
Something happens to people around fame and power and money — it can bring out the worst and best in people. It’s a monster you have to tame.Lisa Marie Presley
When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life.John Lennon
All forms of self-defeating behavior are unseen and unconscious, which is why their existence is denied.Vernon Howard
Fame is a beast that you cannot control or be prepared for.Tom Holland