The Dark Side Of Successful People

Do you often dream about success? What do you see in those dreams? Money, luxury cars, a big house, a good career?

You may look at successful people and wish you could switch places with them. On the outside, they seem like they have it all, and it seems like they lead perfect lives. But on the inside, things may be a bit different.

On the inside, there could be an unspoken of, well hidden darkness. You may be surprised to find out that success often comes with a high price.

In this article, let us discover the dark side of success.

1. Loneliness

Chasing success could make you feel alienated and alone. Just imagine… you get a call from your friends to go out, but you need to work long into the night. You have no time for lunches or dinners because of deadlines. You can’t go to the movies because your report isn’t finished yet. Also, since you’re isolated from the people you love, soon you come to realize you have no one to turn to when things get hard. Maybe nobody would even understand your worries. So no matter how mesmerizing it sounds to be ultra successful, keep in mind that it could actually be a pretty lonely time.

2. Greed

Staying humble while getting successful is a challenging job. Over time, greed takes over many successful people. It seems like they can’t get enough of everything – enough achievements, enough money, enough praise… They just keep running for more. This might sound like simple persistence – but chasing more than you need can make you fall into that dark hole of success. Slowly you could feel yourself becoming someone else, someone you never thought you’d be. And you might realize that you don’t really like that person. But worst of all, you might realize you’re chasing something you just can’t get – because no matter how far you get, it would never be enough.

3. Anxiety 

When you’ve finally become successful, what do you think becomes your worst fear? It’s failing and losing it all. Your days and nights might be overflown with worries about the future – what will tomorrow look like? What challenges will it bring? Will you be able to overcome those problems? Thoughts like these can make your mind anxious, and you might even start showing some symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Sleepless nights, heart racing, heavy breathing, racing thoughts… For many, it comes hand in hand with success.

4. Envy

When you’re daydreaming of success, how do you imagine people close to you would react? You probably think your friends and family would be proud and happy for you, and the ones you don’t know so well would maybe be impressed by your hard work and achievements. Even though that scenario is possible, many successful people don’t get such nice reactions. What they’re really facing is envy – people being jealous of their success. People might talk behind your back, saying how you didn’t really deserve what you have, or that you got it by pure luck. They might try to turn other people against you, or even sabotage your efforts.

5. Jealousy

Envy and jealousy can actually go both ways. While there might be people jealous of you, you could also get jealous of other successful people. You might see everyone as an enemy or a threat. You might compare yourself with others, and as a result never be content with yourself. This jealousy might make you seem like a bitter and angry person, making people dislike you and avoid you, which would just further the loneliness we talked about before.

6. Physical issues

Finally, apart from emotional problems, success could bring you physical issues, too. Restless nights and worry could make you prone to insomnia. You could also experience loss of appetite, or become prone to overeating, making your weight fluctuate. Digestive problems are common with successful people as well, for example IBS as a result of all the anxiety. And it is not uncommon to notice changes in your appearance too – getting wrinkles or gray hair a little bit too soon.

Closing thoughts

So, what do you think? Are you ready to pay the price of success?

Of course, every experience brings something bad and something good into your life. Successful people do go through their unique struggles, but don’t let that discourage you from bettering your life and succeeding in any way. Make sure you have a strong circle of dear people you can count on to help you deal, and be careful you don’t lose yourself in the process.


Beware of The Dark Side of Success. (2018, March 19). Leadership.

Clanon, J. (2018, February 2). The Dark Side of Success: Dealing with the Organizational and Emotional Complexities of Growth. The Systems Thinker.

Company, T. (2018, July 21). The Unintended Consequences of Being Successful. Talley & Co.

Dill, G. (2018, March 23). The Brutally Honest DARK Side Of Success Nobody Wants To Talk About By Gallant Dill. Medium.

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