Unknown-1Otherwise known as “what got you here won’t get you there” is something interesting to ponder. I think it is taken as given that you have to fail in order to succeed. I’m not sure if anyone will argue with that one.

But I’ve been pondering whether success will inevitably end in failure.

Certainly if you look at companies, this is true. Few of the leading firms from a century ago or in fact even 30 years ago are still around and dominant the way they once were. They were victims of their own success, failing because their industry failed or they couldn’t innovate fast enough.

The same can be said of products that were once successful, industries that flourished, even countries that were successful inevitably fail.

Perhaps it is not completely true of people. If you believe the Peter Principle, employees will inevitably be promoted one level beyond their own level of competence and then fail.

There are a very few people though who rise to the top and then retire. They haven’t failed but then they did quit at the top. Products, companies, industries, and countries can’t quit so they all will inevitably fail.

I think the reason that success leads to failure is that people are unwilling to wake up every day thinking that everything they know could be wrong. If you are convinced that you couldn’t be wrong in some way then that is an area in which you are willing to learn.

If you’re unwilling to learn then you won’t progress and this then will lead to failure. The more successful people become, the more they think they know and thus the more they are unwilling to learn and the more likely they will be to fail.

So the happy thought for the weekend for all you successful people out there is: enjoy it now because your own success may be your eventual downfall.