Just 26, his take-home package was 20 lakhs per annum. He was also eyeing a directorial post on the board of his banking institution after the upcoming appraisal. Successful beyond his years, Vipul was clearly cruising on the fast track. But it wasn’t long before Vipul’s attitude changed. He started behaving curtly and sarcastically with people around. His family felt alienated, his friends drew away and so did his girlfriend.

They say handling success is something most people are unsuccessful at.  A study by Dr. Jason Plaks and Kristin Stecher found that people who thought of their capabilities as “fixed” were more likely to become anxious and disoriented when faced with dramatic success, causing their subsequent performance to crash. Inflexibility, fear of failure and a limited view of one’s abilities leads most youngsters to imagine the worst when they are faced with success.

Watch out!

Are you unsure about your ability to take success in your stride? Asking yourself the following questions may help:

  • Do your performance appraisal reviews contain phrases such as “has difficulty handling juniors”, “needs conflict management skills”, “should improve flexibility” or “needs team building skills”?
  • Do you often feel that trying new things at work will result in failure?
  • Do your school/college friends complain that you’ve “changed”?
  • Do you consider your parents’ achievements as “useless”?
  • Do you feel dissatisfied despite being considerably successful?

A “yes” to these questions may mean that success could be getting to you.


Here are 10 things to learn that success may never teach you.

  1. Humility: Let your vocabulary include phrases such as “I’m sorry” “That was an oversight on my part” “It was team work, not just my effort”
  2. Appreciation: Simple words of praise, acknowledging work as “good” not just “fine”, and showing a fair approach are some attitudes the successful person needs to cultivate.
  3. Respect: Revive those forgotten lessons taught during “boring” value education classes. Respect bosses, seniors, and juniors equally. Treat the handicapped with concern. Practice manners, cell-phone and dining etiquette.
  4. Tolerance and flexibility: Understand that not everyone will think like you and that dealing with humans is a far different ball game than dealing with paperwork. Avoid stereotyping and learn to treat everyone as a unique person.
  5. Charity: This doesn’t necessarily have to mean donating money to NGOs and charitable institutions. Acts such as giving old clothes to the church or feeding leftovers to stray dogs count too.
  6. Character: know your deepest values and live by them. To get in touch with some of your deepest beliefs, try this simple visualization.

Imagine yourself at your funeral and think about what your friends and family members would have to say about you. What are the things you did that made a difference? What are your achievements, your contributions that people will remember you by?

This will help you identify what is truly important to you- and develop a strong inner character!

  1. Cherish what’s important: “In life all of us are given five balls. One is rubber and four are glass. Your rubber ball is work and, if you drop it, it will bounce back. Your four glass balls are your family, your friends, your health and your integrity, and if you drop one of those it doesn’t bounce back.” (From “Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas”)
  2. Discover Relaxation: Slow down and appreciate the small pleasures in life. Make your goal being a “good person” rather than an efficient boss/professional.
  3. Discipline: Regulate your life. Success and Appreciation at work means nothing if you are 20 Kg overweight and have a cocktail of health problems.
  4. Be sensitive. Develop empathy over sympathy. Don’t just feel sorry for the pregnant lady standing in the bus juggling two bags.  Get up and offer her your seat.

Handling success requires discipline, determination and a strong belief in oneself. The good news is that humans have an innate capacity to figure out their shortcomings, act on them and correct their mistakes. Learn from some of the above values to get you started on the true road to success.

This post originally appeared in the LinkedIn Pulse.