The Incredible Heaviness Of Being Successful

“Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” – Jean Kerr


A curious thing sometimes happens on the road to success. Things are moving along brilliantly (as my British friends like to put it). Your first success has led to others. Your career is skyrocketing. Your friends and colleagues admire you. You are making gobs of money. Then one day you wake up and just don’t feel like working anymore.

What’s going on? How did all that fun and excitement turn into labor and stress? What became of the adrenaline rush? Who ushered in this low-grade listlessness?

If you don’t already know what I’m talking about, you may be thinking that this is a problem you’d love to have. You may be telling yourself that it will never happen to you.

But I can tell you from experience that it will. In fact, I can even tell you when.

You will start to dislike your job when one of the following two things happens:

1. You are making more than $100,000 a year.

2. You have become known by more than 100,000 people.

Don’t ask me why. It’s some kind of “life irony.” The gods of Justice have determined that if you want the world’s crassest pleasures you have to pay for them with psychological pain.

I bring this up because I am eavesdropping on two evidently successful businessmen bitching about their travails while sipping cocktails in the first-class cabin of a plane heading for Paris.

When you hear OTHER people complain about the problems of wealth and fame and fortune, it makes you want to puke. But when it’s your turn to complain, you expect a sympathetic ear.

(I say “you,” but I mean “I.”)

I love bitching about how hard I work. I can’t do it with everyone — certainly not with my employees, with friends of mine who see my success and wonder why I work at all, with family members who have problems of their own, or with the 99% of the population that has it tougher than I do.

So what do I do? I find someone in the same situation, and we kvetch together.

It’s a pathetic practice really: two successful people complaining because they work hard.

Wake up and smell the roses. To get a lot, you have to give a lot. That’s the way the game is played. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

I can’t think of any more clichés on this subject, so I’ll sign off.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]