Success is an enemy


Success is an enemy

Whether you are a winemaker, a winery, a wine brand or a wine writer, one of the biggest threats can be success itself. It’s made more dangerous by the fact that it would never be suspected of being a threat, because it is a goal.

You begin to believe your own hype. You get complacent. You lose the hunger that contributed to your success in the first place.

Your critics polarise. There are those who become sycophantic, saying great things about you whatever your performance. And there are those who will be critical whatever your performance. You listen to, and believe the former. A mistake.

Success means you can behave badly and get away with it. You don’t even realize this until your standards have dropped so far that even your most blinkered fans can no longer deny it, and the way back is then very hard indeed.

So while we strive for and welcome success, we should be wary of it. It is an enemy. Ignore it, and carry on as if it never happened.

3 Comments on Success is an enemy
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

3 thoughts on “Success is an enemy

  1. That’s totally true. When you start something for passion, as I did with wine, you have plenty of enthusiasm. When you start to do it for success or, even worse, for business, everything becomes more gray and less interesting!
    I love wine and I work in Finance, much more boring 🙂
    Great blog yours!

  2. Jamie, that is one of the most incisive things I have ever read on your site. When you are young, hungry and poor, you put everything into future success. You remain single-minded and channel every scrap of energy towards one goal. If, and when, success comes, complacency sets in, goals go out of focus, ease and comfort become the order of the day.
    The Roman emperors used to have a slave that stood behind them when they took their Triumphs through the city streets, whispering “you are mere mortal” over and over again to prevent them being seduced by the adulation of the crowd.
    The only way I try to stay focused and hungry in my work is to taste great wines, almost every day in the context of my own wines. So far, it seems to help!I also genuinely seek out and (gently) interrogate negative reviews of my wines from respected tasters.

  3. It is very true, this. Seems so obvious in a way, yet I can’t think of anyone stating it so starkly. Er, hope that’s not too sycophantic for you – I do try to resist that particular urge (as I’m sure you’ve noticed!)

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