Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.
Success is a double-edged sword; it can both be the reason for motivation and complacency. For driven people, it can spur them on to aim for even greater feats. For them, success serves as a stepping stone to a better future. However, for people short on inspiration, success often becomes a roadblock. It breeds a kind of self-satisfaction that can be detrimental to one’s personal or professional growth. While some people no longer feel the need to build on their success, adopting a laid-back attitude, many others completely forget the reason that made them succeed: their hard work. It goes without saying that the latter is a more dangerous scenario, and rightly so.
After all, not only does a casual approach impede one’s progress, in a way it also sets the stage for their downfall by luring them into a hard-to-resist trap of vanity. Soon, they start crediting their success to their newfound, misplaced sense of superiority than to the hard yards they put in to get there in the first place. They stop paying attention to their shortcomings and start taking things for granted instead. They build an air of invincibility around themselves, remaining blissfully ignorant of how steep the fall can be.
But that is just how success works, and not everybody has the skill or mindset to handle it in the right way. It is for this reason that most philosophers regard failure as a better teacher than success, for the former lets the most ignorant of men know what their drawbacks are. On the other hand, success is more likely to feed one’s vanity and force them into believing that they can replicate it effortlessly. It is for this reason that celebrated American software developer and businessman, Bill Gates, had once remarked, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”