Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The Trappings of Success

Why trappings?

Why make success sound like a trap?

[Trapped? Looks pretty good to me :) - see more at Saundra's Flickr Photostream here]

Some language students call the English language, 'easy to learn but difficult to master'. I suppose that goes for most languages but maybe it is words like 'trappings' that make things tricky. Even life-long English speakers could be forgiven for wondering about this one.

Is the English language confused or is it highly enlightened. Are they just words or do some words offer us a tangible, everyday link to the full range of human experience and learning throughout the ages? Yes it describes but can it really teach us pitfalls at the same time?

In my opinion [around the subject of careers of course] trappings can only make us feel trapped if they are things we don't want. If the trappings of career success also deliver fundamental satisfaction and fulfilment, you are unlikely to feel trapped.

If however you feel forced to follow a particular career path [i.e. your career decisions are limited by the trappings of success] feelings of discontent, disappointment or dissatisfaction would seem more likely at some point in the future.

What are your thoughts on the trappings of success?

All the best for now,



  1. When I worked for a large corporate, I certainly enjoyed the "trappings" of success (flying in the front of the plane, chauffeur driver, loads of support), but now that I live in the entrepreneurial world, I am amazed at how little interest I have in such things. What matters now is making the business grow! I have a feeling that the "trappings" mostly serve to remind executives about how important they are, how "senior", and how well-resourced the business is. The problem is, too many muddle up their sense of worth/identity with the trappings, and when they lose such trappings, they suddenly have a crisis of confidence. Much better to locate your identify/sense of worth in WHO you are and WHAT you can do, rather than with the outward trappings. A word to the wise!

  2. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your comment and for the example of your experiences (direct & indirect). The trappings you mention are seductive indeed [how else would they trap us, right?] but you are right to point out that they are unlikely to remain so.

    Your new path demonstrates that you know what is important to you now and what will still be important to you in the future! :)

    All the best,