Potential for High Achievement

Denis Waitley

The Icarus complex describes many individuals as they naively and prematurely jump into the action phase of their success program. They set their sights far too high, are unrealistic in their plans, do not have the necessary knowledge base or training skills, and, like Icarus, they get burned. Some people try again and again, without having learned from their previous mistakes, and get burned again and again. They begin to think: I try and try, but it never works out for me.

The Icarus complex explains why so many people have "permanent potential." They almost succeed over and over, having temporary, fleeting gains, and then come crashing down to earth.

Those with the ostrich complex suffer from a problem that is diametrically opposed to the Icarus complex. They not only donít try to fly to the sun, but they donít even want to look at it. In the face of risk, they prefer to stick their heads in the sand.

A person is exhibiting symptoms of the ostrich complex if one: rarely tests his or her potential; has little concern for his or her personal and career growth; dislikes taking chances or getting out of oneís comfort zone; is not continually seeking new responsibilities in his or her profession; prefers not to know when something goes wrong.

Itís all too easy to fall into the patterns of the ostrich complex. As we grow into adulthood, many of us make decisions that progressively reduce the need to take risks, thereby narrowing our opportunities, limiting our horizons, reducing the input of fresh viewpoints and sealing off our potential for high achievement.

INSIGHT, # 84, p. 25-27

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