What is the “Success Bubble”?

Few months back I wrote a Guide on Overcoming the “Success Bubble”It had some, but not a lot of traction. A nice blogging habit is to revisit old topics now and than. I feel a more detailed explanation of the concept should go a long way.

The Idea of Identifying the “Success Bubble”

My background in economics and business has wired my mind to think of life as basically a market. We sell ourselves, our skills, our traits, our talents – the market accepts them, or not. We define success by the amount of things we can accomplish. A very vague explanation for something far more complex.

A bubble (in economic terms) is surprisingly defined in many ways. Economics is an exact science, so this outcome was not expected. Paul Krugman to the rescue! The famous economist in an article for the New York Times titled  “Bernanke, Blower of Bubbles?”back in 2013, wrote a fairly simple definition of what a bubble is:

 …a situation in which asset prices appear to be based on implausible or inconsistent views about the future.

Back to our language – an asset can be considered any of our traits, skills talents or anything we possess. The source of value. But if we live in a bubble, our assets would be valued based on fairly inconsistent views about the future. Let’s face it, no one can predict the future, but scientific methods have grown to be increasingly correct. Still we are nowhere close to clarifying the idea of the “success bubble”.

Something from my last article:

A “success bubble” is a bubble which is formed around people with high goals by reading a large quantity of information about highly successful people. What happens is that you (read: myself) tend to compare yourself to them and correct your activities to achieve the success of someone else. You actually drive away from your vision path and the strategy which you had planned.

The second component of our bubble is the “success” part. I have come to think that today’s readers are bombarded with so much information that we are unable to think for ourselves. But the fun part is that there is no reality check. A person can find any reliable information to support his views, even if they are not in tune with anything sane.

To clarify things further, I will paraphrase  John Oliver and his overview of Scientific Studies. According to his research, there are so much studies on the same topic, that people can choose the one with the results they want to believe.

This same analogy made me come up with the term of “success bubble”. We are riddled with information all types of information on success:

  1. What defines success?
  2. How to achieve ours?
  3. What activities to undertake?
  4. What other people did?

Yes, this information is very helpful to read, but I feel it leads to more confusion. Even worse, it leads to low levels of confidence. Everyone has at least once been there.

How the “Success Bubble” Works?

The inner motivation kicks in. We have set out to do something that will take a lot of hard work, dedication, risk and sacrifice. Of course, the place to get basic info is the Internet. We start to read all sorts of articles on success, motivation and personal development. And soon after, we are more confused than we started off.

Humans are social creatures. It is impossible for us to function without others. Therefore it is only natural to use bench-marking in every part of life.

evaluate or check (something) by comparison with a standard – Wikipedia

The real problem comes up when we use those “standard”. What is the standard for success? Has anyone ever created a formula that guarantees it? – NO! But no one can be fully immune to the “success bubble”.

Exiting our comfort zone with little, or no confidence makes us very susceptible to the effects of the “success bubble”. Comparing ourselves to different leaders in our industry, we might realize that we are quite different. Does that mean we will not reach success?

Of course not! Redefining reality is what creates improvement.

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