Success too early?

What happens if you hit your dream too early?  For years I’ve watched this phenomenon play out in 21-yr-old NFL players who sabotage their early success.  The stories of drug abuse and personal failure as child actors become adults are legend.  Most lottery winners destroy their unexpected success within three years.  Last year I spoke at the White House to a group of mostly 30-somethings who knew they would be moved out with the next administration.  Where do you go after having had a White House assignment so early in your career?  

Wednesday night Taylor Swift described her emotions upon winning the CMA Entertainer of the Year – that industry’s highest honor.  She said she was dumbfounded at winning the award of her dreams at only 19 years old.  She added that she always likes a challenge and she wasn’t sure now what new challenge she would be working toward. 

Is it a good thing or a curse to “win” too early in life?  Is success sweeter if it comes only after years of hard work?  Are you ready to handle success? 

Cervantes said, “The road is better than the inn.”  In my own experience I know I’ve frequently enjoyed the challenge of success more than the end result I had in mind. 

Have you ever seen a dog that actually catches a car?   While the chasing seemed to be a thrilling adventure, reaching it usually produces a state of “What now?”  It seems that attaining success often confuses people as well.


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6 Responses to “Success too early?”

  1. Marla Martenson Says:

    I totally agree, success too early can often be a curse. One really benefits from life experience and enables us to handle finances and responsibility properly and with grace.

  2. therealmotherlode Says:

    I pray Taylor doesn’t get destroyed by her successes. I loved seeing her reaction to her wins but it was also with a sense of sorrow too.

    What’s the shelf life of a young star before the public gets tired and looks for the next rising star? Or worse…before their own vanity and pride destroys them?

    Not too terribly long for those who’ve already walked the path. (Makes me think of Miley too.)

    Let’s hope Taylor’s family can help her navigate these waters wisely.

  3. Drew Hawbs Says:

    I agree that the fun and exciting part of life is the road not the success itself. My favorite activity is climbing mountains. It is absoluetly about the journey to the top not the time spent on the summit that keeps me coming back.
    I recently quit a job as a Vice President of a Bank at the age of 33. I was successful at banking but it bored me to death. I feel a renewed sense of satisfaction working to a new set of goals.

  4. Kurt Vander Bogart Says:

    Success focus can be changed. Just because someone has world success early on does not mean their life is over. Success as a spouse, parent, or even a servant of God is is a marathon, not a sprint. The issue most people have trouble with is that their version of success, is quite frankly, too small of a concept. This world is big, and there are many ways to focus the talented and not so talented areas of your life toward multiple areas of “success”. Success is truly a journey – and the game of life contains an infinite numbers of levels.

  5. Stephanie Says:

    I really relate to this. At 24 I began at the lowest position at a great company. By 26 I was reporting to the executives of the organization. I LOVED my job. I was extremely disappointed when in the same year I was laid off along with about 90% of the company.

    I got a job right away which was a huge blessing, but it was horrible. They were lying to clients and just not a good company at all. I resigned after 6 months. I do have a job now, but it’s just a job…not a dream.

    At 28 I still haven’t really gotten over losing this job. I miss it. It was a dream and it doesn’t seem like there is anything like it – at least that I’m aware of.

    I was married just this past year and hope to be a mom and stay home with my kids starting a new season soon, but when I think of “careers” I’m filled with disappointment.

    We’ll see what happens. Before I started that dream job, my desire was to be a stay at home mom. I hope that I’m not using it as a cop out now. I feel like I’m in a holding pattern – still missing what I had.

  6. Early Success | Turning the Wheel Says:

    […] caught a post over on Dan Miller’s 48 days blog titled ‘Success too early?’ Dan mentions Taylor Swift’s recent accomplishment of […]

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