“the success-failure whiplash”

I came across the above phrase here :

One of the dangers of forming a modern identity around achievement is what Rev. Tim Keller calls “the success-failure whiplash.” Succeeding in one area can cause people to believe they have the skills and inner qualities to do anything, and everything, alone – that they are omnicompetent.

Keller discussed the process in his address to the Acton Institute’s 2018 annual dinner, which he titled “Identity, Business, and the Christian Gospel”:

If your identity has become your business and your profession, then when you’re successful it does literally go to your head. And what I mean by that is this: If you’re successful at making money, which means you’re really good at making money, you start to believe you’re an expert on everything. And nobody will tell you, because they’re kind of afraid of you. But the fact is you really feel like, ‘I’m an expert on art. I’m an expert on ministry. I’m an expert on everything.’ And that’s a sign of idolatry. That is a sign that what has happened is you have turned your success into an identity. You’re not just good at making money; you’re good. You’re not just important. You’re not just prominent in business; you’re prominent. You’re important. You’ve made it.

The dizzying elation of success, Keller warned, has a polar opposite: “Failure goes right through your heart, because you don’t have a self left.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s