Imagine this scenario... You spend years working hard to succeed. During these years, you have some success, mixed with lots of false starts. But you never really reach the level of success you dream of. And then something shifts. Everything begins to work, and your fame and fortune take off.

Here's the question: Does success change you? Does becoming successful cause you to think and act in a different way? Understanding the answer the answer to this question has significant implications for your future.

The answer is "yes" and "no". We need to examine success' effect on us at both a professional and a personal level. Professionally, success definitely changes us. It causes us to think and act differently. It causes us to become more creative, seeing opportunities where we never saw them before. It causes us to collaborate more effectively, leveraging our efforts like never before.

Success causes us to dream even bigger, setting goals we never would have considered possible before. This shift in thinking causes us to take actions we never thought we would. We manifest the courage to move out of our comfort zone and strike out in directions that, up until then, intimidated us. Each of these shifts acts to propel our success to ever greater levels.

But the story is different on a personal level. Many people have fears and beliefs around success and its impact on us. Some people have a belief that success makes people superficial. Others believe that success makes people materialistic. Some have a fear that success brings with it overwhelm and overload. That out life will no longer be our own. They fear that success will cause them to lose the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed.

Of course, there are many other fears and issues some people have about success. But for purposes of this article, we're only considering those regarding beliefs and fears as they relate to success and how it may change us.

Having noted the various fears and beliefs people sometimes have around success, let me share what I know to be true about success and its impact on us. I've been very successful in my life and at others times, I've been bankrupt. I've experienced both ends of the spectrum. Here's what I've learned...

Success doesn't change you. It simply magnifies who you are.

If you're a generous person when you're only modestly successful, then success makes you even more generous. If you're a selfish person before success, then success makes you even more selfish. If your nature is to be a caring, giving person, then success makes you more so. Success doesn't change you as a person - it magnifies you.

If your nature is to be materialistic, you become more materialistic. If you are a competitive person, you become even more competitive. If you like helping others, you end up looking for ways to help even more people.

The bottom line is that success simply amplifies or magnifies who we are. It's important to understand this, so that we don't allow our fears about success or our false beliefs about success to hold us back from becoming all that we can become. You never want your fears and beliefs to hold you back from fully realizing everything you can achieve.

I've written before about the limiting effects of having conflicting intentions or beliefs, so I won't expand on them here. But essentially, if you have an intention or belief that is in conflict with what you're attempting to accomplish, it counters all your efforts. The consequent results are mediocre.

Only you know whether you harbor any conflicting beliefs or intentions. It may take some reflection and introspection to bring these conflicting intentions to the surface. But unless you do, you'll always be mired in mediocrity.

Help yourself achieve the success you want. Spend some time identifying and releasing beliefs and intentions which conflict with your goals. And appreciate the fact that success won't change the kind of person you are - it simply amplifies your qualities. Once you embrace these two concepts, you'll be able to achieve whatever level of success you dream of.

Author's Bio: 

Written by Michael Beck, Business Philosopher & Strategist. For more articles on personal effectiveness and personal productivity, and to subscribe to my free monthly newsletter, "Full Potential", please visit
. Permission to reprint with full attribution. © 2010 Michael Beck International, Inc.