Thinking that the good times are going to last forever

When success comes to us fast, early and often, it’s not unusual to think that it will keep coming.

When we’re young and naïve and the whole world is still in front of us, of course nothing could possibly block the flow of good in our lives. We’re bulletproof.

But one of the lessons we learn as we get older is, attachment often means thinking that the good times are going to last forever.

They don’t. They can’t. Nothing lasts forever.

One day we’re riding a bicycle downhill, thinking our legs are strong, and the next day the pavement suddenly plateaus and we’re out of breath and pedaling like our hair’s on fire.

When this happens, it can feel like the crisis we’re going through is a test of whether or not we deserve to be there.

That’s how I felt during the recession many years ago. Does my business even have a right to exist? Maybe the tide going out is proving to me that my pants have been around my ankles the whole time.

Dalio writes about this in his inspiring book of business principles:

Humility typically comes from an experience of crashing, which leads to an enlightened focus on know what you don’t know.

Ask anyone who’s ever experienced burnout or emotional meltdown or a midlife crisis. Developing a case of the humbles hurts like hell.

One lesson for me was about survivorship bias. Meaning, my own false belief that my successes compared to the cohort of my peers had a special property, rather than just coincidence.

The question had to be asked:

Was it really the strategy of my marketing, the value of my work, and the attractiveness of my persona? Or was my success just a product of impeccable timing?

There was no real way to tell. There couldn’t be.

That’s the rub about being young. Not enough experience, which means not enough data, which mean not enough perspective, which means not enough wisdom.

All the more reason not to be so damn attached.

Have you and your career only had good times, or actually shared some adversity together?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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