Leadership: Success is a Lousy Teacher

“Success is a lousy teacher. It makes smart people think they can’t lose.” – Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates.


If that statement is true—and I believe many, if not most times it is the absolute truth—each of us should take very serious pause to closely examine the huge ramifications of that statement and that truth in our lives and our leadership.


Seriously think about it! “Success is a lousy teacher. It makes smart people think they can’t lose.” If that statement is even partially true, it has huge ramifications on your life, your leadership, and your career. Why? Because if I asked you, I believe you would say that you are successful. And no doubt you are!


Success in your life is probably a lousy teacher. Repeated success may even cause you to begin thinking that you can’t or won’t lose. Or, that you don’t need to consider other ways to accomplish your goals, dreams and potential. Thinking you can’t or won’t lose is a very dangerous way of thinking and living!


It takes serious discipline and wisdom to think critically about your success and to seek honest constructive criticism and wisdom from others regarding your success.


Never forget, regardless of how successful you believe you are, or how successful others tell you that you are, you will never ‘truly arrive.’ You will never reach a point in your personal, professional or organizational life wherein you have all the answers, all the wisdom, and all the success you are capable of achieving. Just read, listen to, and watch media coverage. Far too often, the old adage plays itself out over and over again: “the higher they go, the further they fall.”


As a leader—and we are all leaders—you would be wise to schedule serious time, at appropriate intervals, to closely examine this truth in your own life, in the lives of those you lead, and throughout the organization or areas you lead.


In many, if not most cases, success is a lousy teacher. As you pursue leadership excellence, proactively endeavor to reverse this reality in your life. Fervently make a lifetime commitment that the more success you achieve and enjoy, the more time, effort, and discipline you will apply to “full spectrum learning” and to seeking and truly listening to the wisdom and advice of those you respect and who will tell you the truth.


Make your success a consistent, proactive, dynamic, ever-changing, reality-based learning experience in order that you and those you lead might achieve even greater success in the future!



NielsenCopyright © 2014 by Dan Nielsen – www.dannielsen.com

National Institute for Healthcare Leadership – www.nihcl.com

America’s Healthcare Leaders – www.americashealthcareleaders.com


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