Why most Leaders and Legends fall!

Today, we need to ask and answer 2 questions:

  1. Is it a nature’s law that leaders and legends would fall in any case?
  2. If one has to fall in any case, is it worth going up the ladder of leadership and legendary?

It is a stark reality that what goes up, comes down; excellence brings adversity; when going is good, greed would take the grip and so on! There are countless examples in your home, neighborhood, company and countries world over. Some famous examples for the fall are musical genius Michael Jackson, soccer supremo Diego Maradona, cyclist legend Lance Armstrong, Citibank’s CEO until recently & leader Vikram Pandit and so on.

What drives you up and what drags you down

There are remarkable characteristics of individuals, which make them different, distinct and dazzle; help them to ascend to great height and status. However, during such upward journey, a stage comes when these very characteristics reach extreme end of their scale, put them in retrograde mode and reverse the direction of their rise!

See below some of such characteristics, which are cause of rise as well as fall!

  1. UpTalent & Traits –> Confidence –> Achievements –> High confidence –>
    Down – Over confidence –> Arrogance
  2. UpFocus –> Attention to details –> Good results –> Fervor –>
    Down – Finicky –> Fanaticism
  3. UpEmpathy –> People friendly –> Popularity –>
    Down – Excessively extrovert –> People weakness & vulnerability
  4. UpPassion –> Ambition –> Accomplishments –> Raising bar –> Perfection –>
    Down – Impatience –> Toxic
  5. UpInspiration –> Success –> Aspiration –> Appetite for more success –>
    DownGreed becoming greater than God!
  6. UpIdeals –> Credibility –> Creating impact –> Transforming into Idol –>
    Down – Image blues –> Maneuver or Manipulation –> Malice

Above clearly shows how the very qualities, which are highly admirable, can turn into adversity. You can now relate how several Celebrities and Charismatic personalities climbed up in their performance and popularity, and then came down.

Above also unveils an important fact – every characteristic or quality has a range from “plus” to “minus” and is like Inverse V. Its apex is the climax of positive part of a characteristic. On one arm of this V, degree of positivity of given quality increases on way up to the apex point and on 2nd arm, negativity increases on its way down! It is also very interesting that each journey, way up or down, is One Way Road!! That means you cannot come down from the road you climbed up!!!

Is the Fall inevitable?

No, it is not; but at apex, it is highly imminent, unless you play it very cautiously. Normally, people get hooked on to success, popularity, performance, publicity or power at climax and they refuse to see the reality of vulnerability! This is the precise reason of their getting pulled down.

Best choices available:

  • Quit at Climax gracefully.
  • Allow and accept a climb down to a certain point, which would preserve your credibility and courage. Swing between this level and apex.
    This happens to many successful people and organizations unconsciously. They race to the top, only to lose later to lower positions and then again race to top thru new strategies or renewed strengths!
  • Stay at climax consciously and carefully, discover another peak and start to race up higher. This is a tough option; but not impossible.

Is it worth going-up, only to come down?

In this question are important lessons to learn!

  • If you remain static or stagnant, you are sure to degenerate or degrade. So, without you having to do anything, you are surely going to go down.
    If you are complacent or comfortable wherever you are, then at one stage you would start to get hurt, when your peers, neighbors or bête noires start to go past you in status or position.
  • As time passes, you would always need more resources. Remaining dormant would only damage your sleep and security.
  • Life is lively and worth living, only when you crave and craft for “Change n Challenge”!

Therefore, do not be under any illusion that nature would allow you to remain stagnant in true sense – either you can go up or go down!!

Going-up is a Glory and consciously quitting or coming down is a Grace!!!


8 responses to “Why most Leaders and Legends fall!”

  1. Pankaj Avatar

    Another great piece. Reminds me of Prof. Nadir’s saying, “Charismatic leaders rise like the crescendo and fall with a thud!”

    1. Murli Avatar

      Your views are very praiseworthy! The quote sighted by you is not only apt; but also a reality!!

  2. Murli Lohia Avatar
    Murli Lohia

    From: John.Gardner@emerson.com [mailto:John.Gardner@emerson.com]
    Sent: Friday, November 09, 2012 8:13 PM
    To: murlilohia@gmail.com
    Subject: RE: Why most Leaders and Legends fall!



    I enjoyed this one a lot!

    I try to always remember the Andy Grove Quote[former-Chairman and CEO INTEL]—“Only the Paranoid Survive!”


    John F. Gardner, P.E.
    Senior Vice President – Global Strategic Accounts Program
    EMERSON Process Management |Austin, TX 78681-7430 |

    1. Murli Avatar

      I am immensely thankful to you that you enjoyed this one! I indeed appreciate your interest.

  3. Rudra Avatar

    If you ask for my views… yes, anything or anybody that goes up has to come down some day. Now it depends upon the individual how elegantly he wants to take the downward ladder.

    It’s of-course worth going up the ladder just to ‘experience’ the ‘experience’ that it offers, if nothing else.

    One of the major causes of downfall that I see, apart from what you’ve mentioned is – lack of application for a longer period. When you rule for a longer epoch, people tend to get accustomed to your thinking and planning resulting in your downfall. Best way to remain at the top is, that you should know when to change gears and at what speed.

    Arrogant and over-confident people are a different breed. They go up only to fall down and fall down fatally. But if you talk about real genuine people who fail to handle the top position for a longer period, I think it’s their lack of application and concentration.

    Fall is not inevitable, but it’s certainly not completely avoidable. You will fall… you will definitely fall… but then what matters is how quickly you get back to your senses and rise-up. If you know you have time in your hand to proceed further and you think you can regain your spot back and then gracefully leave when you actually want to… you should continue striving for it.

    Having said that, it’s not easy for a human to quit something when he’s enjoying it to its fullest or when he’s at the peak. That’s where willpower comes and your avariciousness gets tested… some go through benevolently, some collapse…

    Good insight… 🙂

    1. Murli Avatar

      Many thanks for your views and comments!

      i appreciate that you have described in detail what you see on the surface for someone’s downfall. But that by itself is not the reason for fall! The causes for the fall are sitting beneath. These are what people need to watch. Why people start lacking application or concentration, after being successful for long? This is what they need to realize. Post brings out that winning qualities and approach start turning their back like described as inverse V and one has to become conscious. Normally, even great leaders are besieged by its effect and hence have fallen; this is what my research behind this post has revealed!

  4. Anup Mazumdar Avatar
    Anup Mazumdar

    Dear Sir,

    Very nice insight, thank you for this.


    1. Murli Avatar

      My high appreciation to you for your interest and valuable view!

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