As we approach a new year I am contemplating all of my accomplishments and mistakes of the last year. Despite making some mistakes one thing is for sure, this last year was a great year, in fact, I would say it was my best year ever!
But, as we start a new year and all of my metrics are reset to zero the stakes are even higher now, leaving me with one question, “How am I going to improve upon the best year ever?”In business, especially corporations, every year a new budget is released and it always trends upward even if the previous year was a disaster caused by a global economic downturn.
In life, we often put the same kind of pressure on ourselves because we expect that we will be constantly improving even if we suffered some catastrophe.
This becomes especially challenging when we have had an amazing year and while we should be celebrating all of our accomplishments instead we spend the last few weeks of an amazing year wondering, “how the heck am I going to top this?”
This constant pressure to be more successful year over year is what I call the “Bias of Lasting Success.” But, is it realistic to expect that we will always be more successful year after year?
The Bias of Lasting Success
When I speak to people about their goals, aspirations, and dreams I notice that there is this bias towards lasting success. People can articulate their dream of becoming rich, famous, or otherwise ultra-successful but what they can’t articulate is what they are going to do after they achieve their dream and how they are going to hang onto their dream.
There is this prevailing bias towards the idea that achieving a specific goal (dream) is all that is required to be successful over the long-term. People seem to ignore the facts, ultra-successful people, businesses, corporations, and even governments consistently fail.
Don’t believe me, check out this list of once very successful people and businesses that have not had lasting success:
- Rapper 50cent who was worth an estimated $155 Million filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
- Mike Tyson who was worth an estimated $400 Million filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
- Blackberry was the dominant cell phone provider having 85 Million users in 2013, as of March 2016 that number had fallen to 23 Million and on September 28, 2016, they announced they would cease producing their own phones.
- Sears announced this year that after a 6-year $10 Billion loss they would be closing large numbers of their retail stores and are quoted as saying. “substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
The point is that just because you are very successful today, there is no guarantee that you will be as successful tomorrow. The bias of lasting success can really cloud our judgment and cause us to feel undue pressure and anxiety over our performance, robbing us of the enjoyment of present-day success because of anxiety over future performance.
In the end, I think that what is important to remember is that we have to be grateful for what we have, not fearful of what we may lose in the future. Good times don’t last, but neither do bad times. Life ebbs and flows and the people that master the art of controlling their anxiety are the happiest on the earth.
In one recent study, elderly people at the end of their lives reported that their greatest regret was how much they worried about everything. They felt that it was a waste of their precious time which was fast coming to an end. We can take a lesson from this, be practical and protect yourself the best you can from future challenges and take time to enjoy your success.
If you are having a challenge with this I would love to spend some time with you. Take advantage of my free gift which includes an all-access pass to my 5 free courses, a 90-minute free coaching call, and an additional bonus.