Maximum Success: Breaking The 12 Bad Business Habits Before They Break You

Freud first coined the term ‘wrecked by success’ to explain the recurring phenomenon of people who appear to throw away their best chance of happiness through self-inflicted damage.

Maximum Success, written by two Harvard business psychologists and executive coaches, cleverly elaborates 12 different patterns of self-defeating behaviour and ways of tackling them. Take the hero syndrome: some people do not know the meaning of defeat – yet heroes don’t know the meaning of victory. They never seem to be able to rest. Such people can engender both envy and anger. They can also burn out. Few companies tolerate heroes indefinitely. Companies with dominant positions value them even less. Typical signs: do people describe you as constantly stressed out? Do you lose a lot of people from your group? Recommendation: set limits, reduce your working hours, get a life.

Another syndrome is the career-related acrophobia. Acrophobia is the term for fear of heights, or falling from those heights. Recommendation: recognise these feelings, and the recurring theme behind them, then tackle the easiest challenge first, or the ones with the biggest pay-off, and keep a record of your step-by-step success.

What much US psychology often fails to acknowledge is that so-called weaknesses are inseparably intertwined with strengths, and focusing on a single constructed self perpetuates the very illusion you are trying to dispel. If you see yourself in more than one syndrome, it is because you are human, not a sad over-achiever.

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