Three Undeniable Dangers of Success

I’ve not achieved the level of success I desire. However, I have seen enough success in different areas of my life to know: Success can leave in a blink of the eye if you’re not careful. If you want to achieve and maintain success then you should avoid common success killers. No matter the level of your success remember it has the potential to bring these dangers:

1. Future success can be blocked-

When you begin to obtain success, it can be tempting to relax and enjoy the moment. Relaxing and celebrating for too long can cause you to forsake the success you’ve achieved and be a roadblock to further success. This is because you stop putting in the hard work, effort, and energy that first allowed you to become successful. One solution is to take a short amount of time to relax and celebrate then to keep taking action toward higher levels of success.

2. Success can cause you to stay in your comfort zone-

Nothing significant or great is ever done in your comfort zone (Click here to Tweet that). A danger of success is that it can cause you to stay in your current situation or comfort zone. Success can bring comfort and complacency. This can prevent you from taking action or calculated risks. To avoid this danger I recommend being intentional about regularly moving outside your comfort zone and to associate with people who stretch you.

3. Success can bring harmful changes-

Success can bring harmful inward changes. The harmful changes might include: pride, arrogance, self-absorption, a sense of entitlement, and becoming egocentric. These cause a person to become an Outside-In Leader. This is dangerous because a leader’s inward life (heart condition) is shown outwardly through their actions, attitude, and behaviors. These changes can impact every area of your life. The solution is to be self-aware, have accountability partners (To keep you level headed), and to clothe yourself with love, kindness, and humility.

Questions: Can you add to the list of undeniable dangers of success? How do you prevent these and the other success dangers from happening in your life and leadership?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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36 thoughts on “Three Undeniable Dangers of Success

  1. Success can also kill your dreams – especially if it’s success in an area not linked with your dreams. If you start experiencing success at work, it can be difficult to give it up to pursue something you haven’t tried yet. Or, worse yet, you might experience success in an area of your dream that causes you to settle – and stop pursuing the fullness of that dream.

  2. Not planning. Success must be defined and redefined constantly. “Ok, I got here, and I already know where I’m going next”. I like how you talk about celebrating. While celebrating is essential, these times of “smelling the roses” must be planned for or they will stop forward momentum.

  3. Finding success of any kind in this world entails dealing with the world, obviously. That path leads through the human condition and will be a target for many for various reasons. The problem is the cynicism that can rub off on us as we rub elbows with bad people. Often success can leave a calloused heart, it ties in with the “harmful changes” heading of your post. And of course the old problem of believing because we’ve been blessed with more we are better… that’s the most dangerous lie and enemy of our heart. Thanks, Dan.

    • Great thoughts, Floyd. This world causes us to rub shoulders will all different types of people. Spending the majority of our time with “bad” people always leads to the lose of influence and success. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  4. So true! In regards to success in the ministry I recently read a book by Paul David Tripp called “Dangerous Calling” he did a very good job describing how the idea that “I’ve arrived!” can ruin ministry. I think it’s similar with success in any realm of life. We need the humility to know that we can always grow and that our success may be temporary and probably is not all a result of our hard work but the result of a group effort.

    • That sounds like a good book, Caleb. That mindset can ruin anything we have achieved to do or accoplish (in business or church). Humility is key! Thank you for reading and adding to the topic.

  5. Hey Dan – success can definitely have it’s downsides, that’s why we have to be weary of them. And probably the best time to try to troubleshoot the problems are on the journey to success, not once you get there. Success can definitely put in the comfort zone. We usually want to feel safe and if we receive a certain level of comfort, security, we may not take as many risks, try as many new things in life. Always good to be on our toes when it comes to success.

    • Hello Vishnu,

      Great point about “troubleshooting the problem while on the journey to success.” I really liked how you mentioned it being a journey (that’s very true). Taking risks and getting outside our comfort zones allows us to be making progress in life and on our dreams. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. I always enjoy reading your comments.

  6. “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” (Abraham Lincoln) I am amazed at how much adversity a person can stand. We are hard-wired for survival. But, the limit on how much power we can have over another and still maintain a high moral character is another thing altogether. Control is an illusion anyway, and respecting that goes a long way in not falling prey to the dangers of success. In order to truly handle success and the power that comes with it, a person needs to have a strong foundation, solid character. Humbleness needs to be a big part of a person’s life too if he/she is to be able to handle success.

  7. Such a timely post. I recently met a world-renowned scientist who shared his honest feelings of pride vs. humility as his name has became a household name. This was a great reminder that leadership not undergirded by character often leaders to unbridled passion and unethical decisions. However, when you understand where you are, who you are, and most importantly whose you are, you can fight the temptation of hubris and pride. Great post!

  8. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from blogging is that you can’t relax – you have to keep going outside of your comfort zone in order to keep making progress. I’m challenging myself with a regular blogging schedule and a couple of new projects. My strategy is to keep my head down and just keep going!

  9. What an important message, Dan. Success is a direction, a state of movement. We cannot rely on a past event or moment of success, if we want to maintain and grow. Too many times I have seen an individual fall into the traps you have listed, all because they thought that they had already “arrived.”

  10. “Nothing significant or great is ever done in your comfort zone”

    The aim of formula 1 racing is to get from start to finish before everyone else. The drivers drive at great speed and there is no let up as there accelerate past each bend and at times react faster than they are consciously able to do so. Yet despite this there are times in the race where they go into the pit stop to maintain and make adjustments to the car. They are stationary, not moving.

    Some would say, why the hell would they sacrifice 20-60 seconds of time when they objective is to finish the race as quickly as possible? Because if they didn’t stop at times, the car could never finish.

    Thats how I see the relevance of comfort zone.

    Good article Dan, some great points


    • Hello Aaron,

      Great point and analogy! It’s so important to take regular time to rest and relax. The key is to rest then keeping on taking action and moving forward. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  11. I think the first point is a big roadblock for many. Especially when you’re first starting out, you gain some initial success and you think – this is it! I have it! So you relax a little and let things slide, maybe you get a little cocky and think everything is set. Well, it usually isn’t. Success can come quickly, but it can also leave you pretty quickly. You have to keep momentum going. That’s tough for a lot of people.

  12. A danger of success that I have worried about is a sense of boredom or let-down on the other side. Once you achieve something you’ve worked hard for, you may find yourself saying “Ok, now what?” but while you’re in the striving phase you’re kept occupied by the busyness of reaching for your goal.

    • Hello Jessica,

      What a great additional point. I know I’ve faced the “OK, now what?” question after completing a big project. I’ve learned that for me taking a short rest/break and then taking time to think about the next big project is beneficial. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Hope to see you around again.