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dhissami · 2013-03-22 · Original thread
Great article. Rudyard Kipling warned us of the same when he wrote:

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same"

This is the main theme of the book "Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure", written by Andreas Kluth of The Economist. If you enjoyed the OP's post, and love history (or just great storytelling), get the book. Promise you won't regret it.

Some wisdom from the book (from notes I took):

Those who experience tremendous success early in life are likely to have hit a peak. The wandering types who experience success later in life are more likely to sustain success for longer. [The book has an entire chapter analyzing "Towering Peaks" vs. "Wanderers"…a must-read for those who feel behind.]

Always keep the end goal in mind. Don't confuse tactics with strategy. Succeeding in the wrong things will lead to failure.

Dealing with disasters: A “Fabian Response” is one that accepts reality for what it is and then goes with the flow of things that cannot be changed until there is something that can be changed. In other words, accepting reality and then not doing anything - until there are viable alternatives. The key wisdom here is that sometimes the best plan of action is inaction. But don't confuse this with giving up. In this case, inaction is tactical, a part of a plan to succeed.

Keep as clear and calm a mind as possible in pursuit of success, and in response to failure. Always maintain EQUANIMITY. In fact, don't worry about success at all....just focus on doing your best.

Success can be imprisoning in many ways, and needs to be feared. Here are some reasons why: 1) Success is often followed by less discipline and focus. 2) Distractions, such as too many opportunities, or just plain overload of low-value work. Often the source of the success in the first place is forgotten or demoted because of these distractions. 3) Hubris that makes one think he is invincible. 4) Affects social relationships due to paranoia that others aren't as trustworthy anymore, are acting different, etc. Successful people waste time & energy dwelling on these. 5) The confidence and relaxation that accompanies great thinking and creativity (and thus responsible for the success) are replaced with anxiety and self-doubt. This kills the freedom of the mind. 6) Stubbornness and inflexibility that comes with being an authority/expert, which also kills the freedom of the mind.

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