How to Avoid Becoming Too Successful


One of the biggest obstacles to success for some people is what they were taught as children. Quite often society, our parents, and our schools teach us to limit our dreams or, worse yet, that too much success is bad.

OK, right now you’re thinking to yourself, “Self, Greg has gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs again. No one says that too much success is a bad thing.” Au contraire mon frère. You hear it all the time. Look at what’s said about CEOs and corporations. Things like, “That guy makes too much money,” or, “That company makes obscene profits,” or, “No one is worth that salary.” All of those statements are saying that too much success is bad.

We have a weird situation in America where we like to see the little guy go from rags to riches, as long as the riches don’t get too great. Once he hits a certain level, he suddenly becomes someone who’s exploiting the people.

Those ideas can lead you to being double minded about success. On the one hand you want to be successful in your career and earn a great income. On the other hand you’re worried that to achieve your dreams you’ll have to step on people and become a greedy jerk. No one wants to turn into that guy, so you sabotage your success and hold yourself back from all you could do and become.

Quite often, those thoughts remain in your subconscious and you’re not even aware of how and why you’re undermining your own success.

The truth is you can live the extraordinary life of your dreams and help people at the same time. In fact, that’s the only way to true success.

Of course, there are people who step on others, act unethically – or even illegally – to get ahead. Most of the time, they eventually have things collapse around them. Their businesses go under, they get divorced, maybe they even go to jail, and their life becomes miserable. My dad has a saying about people who behave that way: Time wounds all heels.

But most people who succeed do it the right way. They end up getting what they want by providing other people with what they need and want. They run their affairs with the Golden Rule as their guide. They provide great products and services, create jobs, and make the world a better place. Those are all great things.

Money Is Not the Root of All Evil, and the Bible Doesn’t Say It Is

Much of society teaches that money is bad or evil. The people who make a lot of money are uncaring and coldhearted, we are told. Some people use the Bible to justify this. They claim it says money is the root of all evil. But that’s not what it really says.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

–1 Timothy 6:10, NIV (emphasis added)

The Bible is clearly saying that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. When you love money more than you love God, more than you love your family, more than you love what is right, that’s when you’re going down the wrong path. You’re turning money into your idol, your god. But money itself is neutral. The pursuit of money and the use of money can be good or evil.

  • When the leadership of Enron cooked the books to make it look like they had a better financial statement than they did, their love of money was evil.
  • When politicians take bribes or unethical campaign contributions, their love of money is evil.
  • When lending officers gave subprime loans to people they knew could not afford them and borrowers took loans they knew they could not pay back, their love of money was evil.
  • When a mechanic makes unnecessary repairs on a car just to get a little more cash, his love of money is evil.

But money can be used to do wondrous good works. It can lead to starting or growing a business that provides jobs and income for countless families.

Money can equal charity, medicine, food, clothing, shelter, schools, books, and much more. Money can help get you everything you need to physically survive and to help others. It can provide you time to do what you love.

Money makes everything you want to do, have, and be easier.

Profits made by companies big and small can be used to expand the business and create new jobs, to give their current employees raises and stock options, and to donate to worthy charities in the community.

You need to change your mindset on success and money so you don’t sabotage your own dreams.

Action Steps:

1) Meditate on the idea that money can be used for great things and the best way to create it is to help other people. You are going to become a beneficent millionaire.

2) List all the ways you will help other people on your way to your success.

3) List all the great things you will be able to do with the extra money you earn. Who will you help? What will you do? How could it change your family tree?

4) How will you use your success to help others become more successful? Who could you mentor? How could you pass your success on to the next generation?

What could be better than becoming rich by helping other people and becoming an even better human being than you are right now?

Let’s GO!

(If this post resonated with you, share it with a friend and check out my book, GO! How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, available in paperback and audiobook.)