“This argument is like a gun. It can easily backfire!”
Being successful (especially despite all the odds aka nobody believing in you) is great. Rewarding. And ego-boosting, if you ask me. Who would not like that? /Raise your hands. I will ask a first-grader (or a sociologist?) to count them. “Hold your breath and count to ten, fall apart and start again…”/
The trouble comes the moment your work turns into success which subsequently turns into more work. The good news is that you are not a loser (yet), the bad news is that you are more likely to become one. Why? If you are expected to perform a greater number of tasks while keeping the amount of your time constant, you are eventually going to run out of opportunities to inflate the number of working hours (assuming nobody owns Hermineone´s time-turner – for that matter: in case you do, I would gladly buy it from you). Just to clarify: Breaking down under pressure counts as the ultimate fail(ure).
Example: I started a debate society at a university with no tradition of debating in English and succeeded in having not only enough members to have regular debates, but also in sending these people to international debate competitions. The boomerang effect now resulted in debaters requesting special “tournament-related” preparation sessions where they would get more practice in case-building (read: coming up with smart arguments) than at normal sessions. And really, how could a truly caring, dedicated coach say “no” to them…?
This leads me to an important observation: Whether you are launching a project, applying for a job or conducting research, it is just as crucial to have plan B in case of failure as a true plan A+ in case things go three times better than you would have dared to wish in your wildest dreams.
Note: A post on “how to say NO” coming up soon…