There are a number of reasons why success creates blind spots, and this could be happening to you right now.
So, today, I want to talk to those who are killing it in business…and I mean you.
Yes, you are doing very well and succeeding in your business or in your industry right now
You are making money, everyone in your sector or beyond knows who you are, you have the success…
But you may have blind spots you are not aware of and which I want to highlight today.
And for the ones I highlight, you are free to say; Joe, I disagree with you on this!
But if you say; man, I have never thought of it that way before, then read to the end
Success can be a very interesting thing.
It is the reward for your hard work, the validation of your efforts, and the sweet taste of accomplishment.
Yet, as the old adage goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
In this case, the power of success can also come with great blind spots, and these shadows lurking behind the spotlight can hinder your growth and progress, often at a significant cost.
Imagine, for a moment, that success is a mirror reflecting back your achievements, blinding you to the dangers that may lie just beyond your field of vision.
These blind spots, whether in business or life, can be the reasons of your downfall
Such blind spots leave you vulnerable to missteps, miscalculations, and missed opportunities.
In this article, I am going to share with you reasons why success creates blind spots, including examples of businesses that allowed success to blind their vision.
As we discuss the stories of businesses that stumbled and lost their way, I do hope that this lights the path to help you avoid these blind spots.
The road to continued growth and prosperity begins with recognizing the potential hazards that come with success.
So, let us explore this paradox of success.
7 Reasons Why Success Creates Blind Spots
Complacency and Lack of Innovation
At the height of your success, it is very easy to let the complacency drive you into a comfortable place.
Being comfortable is a serious blind spot.
This is where innovation, the lifeblood of progress, often takes a back seat.
When you achieve success, the temptation to just sit back and enjoy your achievements can be irresistible.
After all, why should you fix something that is not broken, right?
But here is the catch:
While your success might be a testament to your past brilliance, it can also cloud your vision for the future.
It becomes the blindfold that veils the disruptive forces of change, leaving you blissfully unaware as your world transforms around you.
One poignant example of complacency is the story of Kodak.
At one time, Kodak was the titan of the photography industry, synonymous with memories captured on film.
They thrived in a world where you had to get your photos developed and printed.
And when you are at the peak of your game, it is tempting to believe that the game will never change.
The fatal mistake that Kodak made was assuming that their film-based empire would remain unshaken.
They were so entranced by their own success that they missed the tectonic shift that was the digital photography revolution.
The very success that once propelled them became their blind spot, and they could not see the future.
In the end, Kodak’s inability to innovate and adapt led to their bankruptcy in 2012.
A stark reminder that complacency can be the downfall of even the mightiest of giants.
Now, as you can see, complacency is one of the reason why success creates blind spots.
If you stop working hard, because of your success of yesterday, you will fail tomorrow.
Success represents your past work.
In this regard, do not let it steal your future success.
For the boundaries you cease to push today may very well become the obstacles blocking your path tomorrow.
Success is not an end but a journey, and the most successful are those who remain humble and curious.
Stay with me here, and let us look at…
Overconfidence and Risk-Taking
When you are winning or succeeding in business, it might feel like everything will always succeed.
In fact, even the world and the people around you clap for your every move.
And this makes you feel invincible.
There is a quote I really love attributed to Bill Gates;
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they cannot lose”
It is good to know that the intoxicating feeling of success often carries a very negative side effect – overconfidence.
When you have climbed the mountain and touched the stars, it is all too easy to forget that even Icarus, in his hubris, flew too close to the sun.
The wins you have made can create a sense of invincibility.
So you end up getting what is called The Icarus Complex
You start believing that success is not just something you have achieved; but something you have become.
This self-assuredness can have dire consequences.
It clouds your judgment, making you more likely to take risks without fully understanding the potential pitfalls.
One of the most haunting examples of this overconfidence-induced fall from grace is the 2008 financial crisis.
At that time, major financial institutions, often seen as the paragons of success, were overconfident in their risk models.
The euphoria of their past achievements led them to place risky bets on complex financial instruments, like CDOs (collateralized debt obligation), that very few people understood.
This overconfidence led to a global economic meltdown that shook the very foundations of the financial systems in the world.
The lesson here is that even when you are riding high on the wings of success, you should always remain humble and grounded.
Overconfidence can turn a winning streak into a tragic downfall.
Resistance to Change
Success makes many people ignore change or refuse to adapt when circumstances change in the market.
And it is easy to understand where this comes from.
When everything you have done has worked like a charm in the past, the temptation to bask in the glory of your tried-and-true methods is irresistible.
After all, why fix something that is not broken?
However, this mindset, of resisting to change, is an actual blind spot.
The very success that you have earned becomes the anchor that holds you back, preventing you from adapting to the ever-evolving world.
It is a classic “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.
A great case that illustrates the perils of this resistance to change is the fall of Blockbuster, the once-giant video rental chain.
In its heyday, Blockbuster was synonymous with Friday night movie rentals.
Success flowed like a river, and the idea of change seemed unnecessary.
Yet, change was brewing on the horizon in the form of digital streaming.
Netflix and other streaming services began to disrupt the traditional video rental market.
Blockbuster, entrenched in its brick-and-mortar stores and late fees, resisted the shift.
They even had a chance to buy Netflix for $50 million in 2000, but they allowed the deal to fall through, missing an opportunity of the lifetime.
They simply could not envision a world where people would not flock to their stores on weekends.
As a result, Blockbuster became a relic of the past.
The world had moved on, and they were left behind, a cautionary tale of what happens when success breeds resistance to change.
The lesson here is clear:
Success should be the wind in your sails, not the anchor that weighs you down.
In the dynamic landscape of business and life, being adaptable is key to your survival and growth.
Let us now look into reason number four;
Tunnel Vision and Narrow Focus
As you have realized so far from what we have covered, success creates blind spots for you.
Success is a tantalizing prize, an affirmation that your formula for winning works.
When you have cracked the code and tasted the sweet nectar of achievement, it is only natural to want to stick with what has been working so well.
But here is the problem;
Your success can be very seductive, leading you to develop tunnel vision, a singular focus that could cost you dearly.
You see, in the glory of your success, it is easy to become obsessed with the winning formula you have uncovered.
Your tunnel vision locks onto that path and blocks out everything else.
It is a bit like having blinders on a racehorse, and that can be dangerous.
One of the most notorious examples of this tunnel vision in the business world is Nokia, the once-mighty mobile phone giant.
They enjoyed immense success with feature phones.
But as they celebrated their achievements, they failed to notice the seismic shift happening in the industry.
A revolution was brewing, and it came in the form of smartphones, led by Apple’s iPhone and Android-powered devices.
Nokia’s unwavering commitment to feature phones and their failure to recognize the potential of smartphones was their Achilles’ heel.
Their tunnel vision led to their downfall, leaving them in the dust while others sped ahead.
The moral of the story is clear:
While success is proof of your capabilities, it should not become the blinkers that obstruct your vision.
On to the next…
Ignoring Feedback and Criticism
Success can be a two-edged sword.
On one hand, it is the sweet results of your hard-earned wins, a testament to your talent and effort.
On the other hand, it can be the silencer of dissenting voices, creating an echo chamber where feedback and criticism go unheard.
When you achieve success, it is very easy to ignore feedback and positive criticism from those who genuinely care about you, or your business
Your accomplishments seem to shout from the mountaintops, and you start to believe that you have cracked the code.
You feel invincible, as if you have a crystal ball that predicts the future, and you become a sage on the mountaintop, ignoring any critique.
The danger in this mindset is simple: when you stop to listen, you also stop to grow.
It is a trap, one that the Coca-Cola Company found itself in during the infamous “New Coke” story.
They were riding high on the success of their original Coca-Cola formula, but they wanted to do something new.
In a bold move, they introduced “New Coke” without fully considering the opinions of their customers.
They ignored feedback, and the result was a resounding rejection by consumers.
Their new formula was widely criticized, leading to a costly reversal and an enduring lesson in the importance of listening to your audience.
The lesson here is that success should not make you stop listening or ignoring feedback.
It should be an amplifier of your willingness to learn, adapt, and improve.
Success is not a static state; it is a journey, and the path to greatness is lined with the voices of those who can help you become better.
Loss of Empathy and Connection
Success, which is something we all chase, can be a fickle friend.
As you climb the ladder of achievement, you might find yourself atop a lofty perch, your view stretching far and wide.
It is an exciting vantage point, but it also comes with a potentially treacherous pitfall: a loss of empathy and connection.
Your success can increase your ego, and as we all know, ego can or is usually the enemy!
When you are succeeding, the view from the mountaintop is exciting or dazzling.
But it can also be isolating and lonely.
As you bask in your achievements, the struggles of others can start to fade into the background.
You become so entranced by your own shining star that the plight of those around you becomes but a distant hum.
This is where Wells Fargo, a once-successful bank, stumbled.
Amidst its financial success, the bank lost sight of its customers’ needs.
It is a tale of greed overpowering empathy.
In their chase of profits, the bank engaged in unethical practices, leading to a damaging blow to their reputation.
And the bank was fined for their mistakes.
The message here is poignant.
Success should be the bridge that connects you to others, not the wall that separates you to them.
In your ascent to greatness, remember the humanity in every successful step and the empathy in every victory.
Entrenchment in Established Practices
One way success creates blind spots is by entrenching your established practices.
You become comfortable with your processes, systems and way of doing things.
And as they say, what brought you here, won’t take you there.
Success can sometimes be a cunning thing.
Convincing you that the path to triumph is the one you have been following all along.
It is a comfortable thing, but it can be the leading cause to your downfall.
Your methods, tried and true, have brought you fame and fortune.
Success paints your path in a reassuring light, and you find it hard to envision any other way forward.
You become entrenched in your routines, and change feels like an unwelcome guest.
This is where Blackberry, the former giant of the smartphone market, lost its footing.
At the pinnacle of their success, they had perfected the physical keyboard design.
Their smartphones were synonymous with efficiency and productivity.
But then, the winds of change brought the touchscreen era, and Blackberry was slow to adapt.
Their entrenchment in the physical keyboard design left them ill-prepared for the smartphone revolution led by touchscreen devices.
The lesson here is clear: do not be stuck with how things have always worked in the past.
Embrace change, for it is the heartbeat of progress.
In conclusion, it is always a great thing to achieve success in business or entrepreneurship.
However, you should watch out for the blind spots that are created by that success.
You do not want your success to turn into your business downfall.
As you have read above, several companies have become victim of their own successes.
This is when their success has blinded them from the market dynamics, making them miss key moments to pivot.
Success is a captivating symphony, but it is not without its dissonant notes.
Success can both elevate and entrap you.
The message is clear: Success is not a destination; it is a journey.
It is a call to remain vigilant and open to change, even when you are at the pinnacle of your endeavors.
Success is not just about reaching the peak; it’s about enjoying the journey and continuing to climb even higher.