Success Breeds Arrogance
Success breeds success it has been said. No one can deny success feels good. It leaves us at a high because it means we’ve done something that not everyone can do which makes us feel special.
But sooner or later this type of success goes to our head when its repared again and again. We begin getting the notion that we are better then everyone else, that is why we are succeeding afterall.
It means we are smarter, stronger, faster, better then everyone else.
It may very well mean that we are better when we see early success. There is an initial advantage, which leads to complacency. If we are already better then everyone else, why do we need to work so hard?
It’s a classic tale of the rabbit and the tortoise.
The Tale of Hubris
Just take a nap. And this mentality comes from hubris.
With hubris, the Greek tragedy goes that a man and his son are held in a prison, but the man builds a pair of wings so that his son could fly away. Before gifting these wings, the father warns his son not to fly too close to the sun. Afterwards the son took flight and was elated by the ability to fly. In his joy, he flew higher and higher until eventually, against the counsel of his father, he flew too high and the sun melted the wings leading to the boy falling to his death.
Now this Greek tragedy has to do with overreaching but the same applies to a lack of effort as well.
Leave Your Ego At The Door
For instance, I left Corporate America last year, on one hand I felt scared, being all alone in a foreign country with little prospects, but on the other hand I carried an excited smuggness with me, I knew I, as a 23 year old, was going after something few of my peers were willing and able.
My starry eyed, high hopes and big dreams led to an arrogance because I knew I was going to make it. I thought of myself as better then everyone else. Which when you are trying to learn as much as possible, is the wrong approach. Like the Greek Tragedies, I learned this the hard way when:
- I got thrown to the canvas 100 times training Muay Thai
- Feeling as though I had 2 left feet when trying my hand at Salsa.
- Standing shaky kneed in front of classrooms of teenagers.
I had been comfortably behind a desk in one form or another most of my life up till that point. I was in my element there. And when I was taken out of my element (and still am) is when I had not only learned the most paradoxically, but have had the most fulfilling experiences.
Since the beginning of this global odyssey, I’ve sucked and sucked often, but on the flip side, I’ve found that success is hubris, while failure is knowledge.
Kingston S. Lim
August 17, 2020
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Life Update: The primary reason I came down to South America is because I wanted to busk here. I’m taking what I’ve learned these past several weeks and putting it to use. This decision would be suicide if the financial incentive was the only motivation. Which of course it’s not. Suppose I’m busking here for the novelty of it. I’ve never heard of an Asian American busking with a guitar in South America. And of course I’m doing to to further exceed my limits. I’ve only been doing it for several days, so I won’t speak on how its going yet.