We spend a lot of time, as a culture, thinking about what drives people to the highest levels of success. Willpower? Single-mindedness? Neglecting sleep? Forgoing human relationships? Inherent genius?
Yes, to all of those things, but that may not be the whole picture. For one, many people who meet all of those criteria do not find the sort of stratospheric success that they are promised. For another, finding that success may be inextricably linked to other kinds of failure.
In an interview with Joshua Kendall on Specific Gravity, Jeff Schechtman examines whether a sort of obsessive madness from childhood pain is a running theme between people from history who have achieved over the top success, from Thomas Jefferson to Charles Lindbergh to Estee Lauder to Steve Jobs.
The psychological and neuroscientific underpinnings of success are fascinating, and they can give us clues as to how to find it ourselves, but they can also offer a word of warning.