Photo source: www.brandonsteiner.com
Why do you think that many rock and roll recording artists did their best work in their earliest albums? One answer obviously is that the nature of the collaboration between people changes as they age together. Either the members of the band, or the unseen people who helped the band are no longer the same, and so the music doesn’t come out the same either.
I have a theory. When we become successful (by any definition: monetary, fame, self-acceptance), we are no longer really the same person who actually achieved the success. Either we, or our circumstances, have changed to create a slightly different person, “the success!”
You might say that the external differences haven’t changed who they are on the inside. But I think if you look at the attitudes of certain people who have succeeded, many of the external factors affect their internal attitudes. They may feel either more confident because of the positive reinforcement, or less confident because now they know people are paying attention.
Now that they are successful, perhaps their anxiety and insecurity, which drove them forward, won’t help them anymore. On the contrary, they may have to fight the overconfidence and complacency that can follow success. In either case, they have to acknowledge that things are different from the way they were before.
That isn’t to say that successful people can’t create quality work. It simply means that, in order to do so, they’ll have to act differently now. They’ll have to discover how certain successful people learn to succeed again.
I believe this remains true on a small scale. If my students are struggling for success, I want them to recognize how they empower themselves. That way, when they start to get good and are angry that they still make mistakes, they will understand that, while they have changed, some of the things they need to do have not.
On the other hand, some of what they did to succeed may have been helping them take care of themselves, and now it is no longer necessary and can be discarded. Either way, they can’t continue as if nothing has changed, because their success has altered the equation. They have to assess who they are now in the place that they find themselves, and learn all over again what it will take to succeed.
Do you know anyone who succeeded in a way that forced them to alter their approach going forward? Were they able to make the transition? Could you please share that story with us?