We spend our lives striving for the peak. We work hard each passing day hoping that today will be yet another step towards that the money, fame or fortune that success brings with it. Not all of us will achieve what we set out for, and in fact, few of us will. The greater percentage will have to settle for less, and live with the compromises that life brings with it. That is both good and bad. Can you imagine a world where everybody achieved their dreams? What sort of chaos would that be?

The reason few of us will live to see that sunny day is due to what I call the ‘dark side of success’. Michael Jackson is probably the most iconic figure of the 20th century. The perseverance and dedication with which he did his music led to the production of classics that will last an eternity. His name will linger on for ages to come, and don’t get me started on how much money he made, then lost, then made again.

The dark side?

Michael missed out on most of his childhood and all his teenage life due to his music responsibilities. Listening to his interviews about how he would attend home school for 3 hours a day, before proceeding to the studio to record music for the rest of the day, while the rest of the kids went to the park to play, is a tale that makes ladies produce that disturbing “Woishee” expression.

The truth or falsehood of the child molestation charges not withstanding, the extent to which these allegations affected his life, almost bringing his fame to the brink of total collapse can only be attributed to his success. Dealing with such a heart wrenching situation, for over ten grueling years, is just the kind of price MJ had to pay thanks to his success.

I won’t go into the potential causes of his death. His Sister Latoya alludes to the possibility that MJ was murdered since he was deemed more valuable dead than alive.

The sacrifices that success brings with it, from the loss of friends and family, to giving up many pleasures associated with a ‘simple life’, to the increasing number of enemies (why would anyone hate a poor man?), to the compromise on faith and morals are just a few of what I call the ‘Dark side of Success’.

I will not stop striving for success, and I am sure neither will you. How well either of us can handle the dark side of Success will however be the differentiating factor between our Successes.

Do you agree?


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