The Paradox of Dating Tremendously Successful People

April 9, 2010          Comments (3)


I’ve long questioned the definition of success so there’s no need to do that again. However, for this post, let’s say that we define success as Steve Jobs type success. You know, the billionaire next door type – except he’s never there.

It seems to me that many people are attracted to power. Power exudes confidence. Or, does confidence get you power? (If that’s what you’re after)

I’m not talking about women being attracted to men in uniform or students being attracted to their teachers. I’m talking about women who are only interested in dating very powerful men.

But here’s the paradox: Sometimes what attracts us to a person is the very same thing that turns us off.

Perfect example: Jon’s Corzine’s ex-wife described him as being, “tainted by ambition.” She must’ve known he was a very ambitious guy from the get go. You don’t lead Goldman Sachs and then become the Governor of New Jersey and then head back to Wall Street (a rare move) without being insanely ambitious.

It seems to me, so many women want to date a “successful” guy so they can live a rather comfortable lifestyle. Sure, why not. If you’re going to pick the same guy with or without money, why not take the guy with dinero?

A woman might argue that they’re just attracted to the qualities and characteristics of a very successful man.

But many of these same women get turned off by the fact their man is out working 15 hours a day. So, which is it?

It’s impossible to achieve that kind of “success” and all that it might afford you without being extremely focused and single-minded. I think women need to know what they want up front.

I’ve questioned the point of being insanely ambitious and successful to the nth degree. I think many people believe this is the key to happiness. I think most people are just chasing wind.

To my last post, I believe it’s really hard to achieve remarkable success without organizing your life around doing what you love. And it’s really hard to “obtain” power without putting in the hours.

As the brilliant Michael Lewis states:

A job will never satisfy you all by itself, but it will afford you security and the chance to pursue an exciting and fulfilling life outside of your work. A calling is an activity you find so compelling that you wind up organizing your entire self around it — often to the detriment of your life outside of it.

Another problem! Many people are attracted to people with callings or a deep passion for what they do. Typically, most tremendously successful people are pursuing their calling.

But Lewis’s definition, which I think is right on the money – proves the very point I’m trying to make.


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  1. let’s not forget that highly driven women make up half the number of lawyers, docs, mba’s, etc. graduating since the late 90’s. it will be interesting to see how power couples figure out their paths if they choose to have kids. bill and hilary made the smart choice to have one child, and chelsea seems fine. many other two-career couples put one or both careers on a slower track so that a nanny doesn’t raise the kids. there is no subsitute for good parenting.

    Comment by elise — April 9, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  2. Elise,

    Thanks for the comment! Maybe it’s the way the media portrays it but it seems like I’m only hearing about women upset over the fact that their man is never around, not the other way around.

    I think it’s very hard for true power couples to work. Bill and Hilary are rare but you could argue that she took a back seat to Bill so he could fully pursue his path.

    Many people say that Michelle and Barack are a power couple too but she also took a back seat.

    In short, I totally agree with you. While the true power couple is possible, it’s definitely the exception.

    Comment by Adam Gilbert — April 9, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

  3. I guess ultimately love and hate are two sides of the same coin… (the opposite of love is not hate but indifference). Like the daytime job defined by Michael Lewis, we might need not to confuse who fuels us with passion and who keeps us grounded – not that I am saying we should all look for a stable but boring marriage.

    Comment by Isao — April 12, 2010 @ 12:27 am

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