It takes one set of skills to get to the mountain top, a whole other set of skills to stay there. The drive that propels you——fuels your striving, your urgent desire to succeed and to prove to the world and to yourself that you have what it takes——that kind of wanting is very different from the steadier, longer term, more patient drive that it takes to maintain, retain, and preserve.
Some of the best examples are in entertainment with its meteoric rides to the top: Elvis, Jim Morrison, Jim Belushi are all examples of those who, to one extent or another, reveled in excess, indulged to the extreme, and met their maker at an early age. The issues are complex, but in the simplest terms, they had difficulty handling success. They were unable to adapt, to learn the skill sets, the mental disciplines necessary to sustain success.
Mick Jagger, Madonna, Paul McCartney, and Paul Simon are examples of those who were able to rise to the top and sustain their success, particularly from the perspective of personal health.
I’m a guy, so there is a part of me that tends to think in military terms: The drive to reach the top is the Marines. It is the Army that has the mission orientation to keep you on top. The Marines are assault troops, they like taking the beaches. The Army is a garrison force, skilled at holding and administering territory, keeping the peace.
A nation in an uncertain world needs the abilities of both the Marines and the Army, the striver and the maintainer. Likewise, a human being who wishes to be able to stay the course throughout his or her life with its myriad inevitable changes, would be wise to cultivate both skill sets AND to do so well prior to the moment of need.
It is not that most people are not capable of learning the second set of skills. It is that life tends to catch them by surprise. It can take time to shift gears, to reorient priorities, adapt habits, cultivate “The Art of the Long View.” Even if you have thought about it, even if you are aware of the eventual need, even if you have practiced and have a plan, frequently it takes time to deploy. Some people, like speedboats, can turn on a dime. Others turn slowly, like aircraft carriers.
It is not enough to succeed. You must be able to maintain and preserve your success, stay fresh and current, mentally and physically. A great way to stay motivated is to have stacked goals, goals in all roles and areas of your life. So when you achieve a goal in one area, you can then turn your energies toward goals in other roles of your life. Awareness and preparation will go a long way. How prepared are you?
Closing Quote: “To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.” – Michael Jordan