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Article Title:
How To Manage The Intoxication Of Success

Article Description:
On a person's quest for success it can sometimes be difficult to 
deal with major victories and triumphs. While that may seem like 
an odd statement the fact is many people are not prepared for 
huge success, even if they see it coming all along.

Additional Article Information:
801 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Thu Feb 16 02:03:21 EST 2006

Written By:     David Krueger, MD
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

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For more free-reprint articles by this Author, please visit:,_MD


How To Manage The Intoxication Of Success
Copyright © 2006 David Krueger, MD

On a person's quest for success it can sometimes be difficult to 
deal with major victories and triumphs. While that may seem like 
an odd statement the fact is many people are not prepared for 
huge success, even if they see it coming all along.

Look at it this way – if a frog were placed in boiling hot water, 
it would immediately jump out and survive. If however, the frog 
were put in cold water and the temperature were to rise gradually 
one degree at a time over a long period of time, the frog would 
ultimately die because of not perceiving the water as hot. 
Gradual success can be just as sinister.

Too Much Too Fast

The pursuit of success can be just as dangerous and therefore can 
lead to 'success intoxication'. Simply put success intoxications 
is getting too much too fast.

Think about it like this: With the increasing stimulation of 
success, the demand on energy escalates; The amount of time at 
work increases; It's hard to relax because excess is 
invigorating; Self-esteem is inflated because of the constant 

Beyond that, the metrics of success exaggerate in terms of money, 
accolades, and accomplishments. After all, once you've achieved 
so much in such little time, wouldn't it be natural to want more 
the next time?

The inherent problem with quick success is the fact that each 
single increment is justifiable and blurs the big picture. In the 
case of the frog in water, every time the temperature increases 
by a degree, the frog probably won't even notice. When the heat 
finally does become apparent, it will be too late.

The pattern is so gradual that it isn't noticed until perhaps 
some profound event brings it into focus. A crisis may occur in 
your personal or professional life, such as a layoff, a business 
closure, a health emergency, or a life-changing event such as 
death or divorce.

Pivotal Questions

To prevent success intoxication, ask yourself these seven 

What is the finish line?

Do you have a set goal in mind, or are you just trying to see how 
far you can get before you collapse? As funny as that may sound, 
many people don't envision an end. While you don't ever need to 
stop entirely, it would be wise to set an objective for each 

Who do you want to be when you cross it?

Following up to the last point, how will reaching this objective 
change you? Surely it will affect you in some way, be it 
financially, physically, emotionally, etc.

What is enough?

Will there come a time when you are happy with what you have? 
Again, you should never stop aspiring, but you should be content 
at some point.

How will you know when you have enough?

This is a very important question to answer for one simple reason 
– in the heat of moment, you won't be able to. Decide in advance 
what you want so that when you get there, you'll know when to 

What are your specific metrics for success?

There is no right or wrong, but there is such a thing as 
consistency. Set your own metrics for success and stick to them.

How much of your identity is determined by these external 
benchmarks of success?

This is a very telling question and one that you should put 
thought into. While success certainly raises your confidence and 
morale, does it truly define you as a person?

Your Mission

The intoxication of success makes it harder to regulate emotions 
and to stay grounded in values and identity. When someone has 
exceptional qualities, such as athletic ability, beauty, 
intellect, or wealth, these can become defining – they can also 
eclipse other aspects. For example, a remarkable athlete or 
entrepreneur can get so enmeshed in a pursuit that he/she gets 
lost – the quest becomes an identity.

To combat this, I recommend creating a personal mission 
statement. Your mission statement summarizes your philosophy, 
goals, and strategies – basically what you are all about. As you 
create your personal mission statement, consider these 6 

** Keep your values in focus so success doesn't compromise them

** Outline your basic needs so they aren't subjugated to the 
   pursuit of success

** Understand that "more" is not a goal – if it is, get more 

** Define what "good enough" is ("the best" is not an answer – 
   get more specific)

** Design short-term, measurable goals to validate your progress

** Use, invest, and refurbish your energy based on your mission 

stay sober

Success is something we are all looking for in one form or 
another. Chasing it can be exhilarating and fulfilling. Just make 
sure you can control yourself – intoxication is no fun when you 
have no way out.

David Krueger, MD ( is the former 
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine 
where he practiced and taught Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. 
He is author of 12 books and founded and served as CEO of 
two healthcare corporations. Dr. Krueger is now the Dean of 
Curriculum and Lead Mentor for Coach Training Alliance where he 
teaches the Certified Coach Program for Health Care Specialists 



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