Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Paradox of Success

I am deeply saddened to learn my older brother, Mark, has cancer. Mark was my protector when I was young and is the glue that holds the Estill brothers together. He is young, feisty and strong. He has the best sense of humour of anyone I know. All characteristics needed to win the fight.

This weighs heavy on my mind.

Changing topics:

Success Paradox

People are a lot like companies, once they think they are good they tend to stop listening. Success can lead to stopping growth and learning.

This can create a success paradox. The more successful a person is, the less willing people are to tell them the truth and at the same time, the less willing they tend to be to listen and learn.

For people and companies to thrive, they need to know that they are not that good; they need to continually thrive to be better.

Arrogance can be the downfall of successful people or successful companies. Perhaps arrogance is a self correcting mechanism.

Just an observation: One challenge this constantly "not good enough" can lead to is a lack of celebration of success.


At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your brother. Cancer is very beatable. I do a lot of work with a childhood cancer charity and see them fight and overcome this terrible disease with amazing regularity - keep your chin up, he needs your support and positivity.

I'm a long time lurker - thanks for the blog.

Regarding the Success Paradox...

It occurs to me that this happens because people achieve success by doing something right, or more likely, a series of things right. This leads them to believe that if they keep doing what made them successful, that they should be able to maintain their success by continuing to do the same thing. Of course, as the world changes around them, the less likely it will be that they will be able to maintain their success. Continuous adaptation is critical, but completely counter-intuitive.

Thanks again for your thoughts.


At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear of Mark's illness.

My sister and her husband both fought cancer at the same time 4 years ago and prevailed. Although my brother-in-law continues to have some can be beat!!

Best wishes to Mark


At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm also sorry to hear about your brother's health challenge. I hope he is getting good treatment, and looking at natural options as well as conventional medicine. I've known many people who have bested cancer, and most of them have had nutritional, herbal and other support to do it. It all helps!

At 4:06 PM, Blogger Alan Marston said...

Success breeds EGO and I have found that EGO stands for Edging Greatness Out. I borrow that from the most commonly used Edging God Out. I use greatness because I agree with you that companies that become great do so because they did some good things in a great way. But as success breeds EGO they think it was their now bloated personalities that got them there than their team, their customers that they treated extraordinarily and so on.

My prayers will be with your brother Mark! Please keep us updated on his progress as he beats this.


At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


A very close client of ours had Cancer this past year and was able to beat it. She told us that she felt that staying exceptionally positive, the outpouring of support and looking forward to the day it was all over helped her battle this demon. We have lived through this with family members and definitely support is one of the best things anyone can do.

Our best wishes are with your brother and your family.


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