Drunk with the Wine of Success

A friend of mine died just before reaching 50 because of a heart attack. He had one son. The father’s family was very poor. The father was very intelligent and hard-working. He won a scholarship and graduated from a reputable university with distinction.

The father started with small investments that were very successful. A few years later, he became very wealthy. He spoiled his son because he did not want him to suffer from poverty as he did.

The son inherited so much money. A few years later, he lost all that money.

The Inheritance Syndrome made the son act with no careful thinking and mostly cared to show his false pride in buying the most expensive cars and staying in luxury hotels. Soon, he lost all his money. He became ill and could not even buy medicines or even foodstuff.

The Success Syndrome

The inheritance syndrome I believe is linked to the success syndrome. They both create thoughts that spoil real thinking. Both syndromes are like sweet bottles of wine stored in the brain. These wines spoil rapidly by the microorganisms of false pride or negative thoughts.

Thoughts are chemicals. When our thoughts are happy it is because our brains release happy chemicals that make us feel happy. When depressed it is because our brains release depression-enhancing chemicals.

A spoiled bottle of wine in the brain release chemicals that suffocate our healthy thinking and make our actions go astray.  No wonder studies show that 70% of the time, family assets are lost from one generation to the next, and assets are gone 90% of the time by the third generation.

Inherited money and inherited successes tend to fill us with mixed feelings of a tendency to distance ourselves from former friends, feeling guilty/inflated about and extreme fear of losing wealth.

Our thoughts produce our feelings, which form our attitudes and how we react. Our actions are reflections of our thoughts. If the thoughts are wrong, so the actions shall be.

Like humidity, light, microorganisms, and heat spoil our food. Food of our thought spoils likewise. We may get heated by our false pride, by the light of attention and fame and the associated feelings that contaminate our thinking.

The internet has created many new opportunities for sudden wealth from creative ideas. Many people who had little money suddenly became very wealthy. Will their kids who did not have to sweat to make this money invest wisely? If not, will the old data that 70% of wealth be lost from one generation to the next even get worse?

It is not enough to leave wealth for our families. We must also leave them with healthy thinking. It is our duty to make our kids realize what it takes so as not to get drunk by what they inherit or succeed in doing.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. Brother Ali
    I don’t come from money. My parents had good enough jobs to pay for college and mostly fund their retirement. They both lived into their nineties and at the end had full nursing care so the was no inheritance other than the memories and wisdom they passed on.

    I may be the same if I live that long, which is OK by me. Hope my kids feel the same.

    • You are so right brother Alan Culler. Feelng rich— sometimes with little money more than our peers we may get this feeling and spend our money unwisely.
      I just wonder what was your motive for spending money buying drinks for your friends. Just because you felt rich, or there were deeper feelings inside.

      Great examples the adages that you shared. Yes, they all resolve around the same concept of the post.

  2. In Denmark we have an old saying that 3rd generation loses the wealth. The first generation makes it – while the second generation is watching and suffering from the missing parenting from an ever working parent. But they don’t take the comfort for granted, having seen it been made. The third generation, however, started out not knowing the simple life.
    Fortunately, old saying don’t always come true. Particularly not if society has not done away with all decent jobs for young people.

    If parents have had a decent career, their children might never know how their parents lived when they were young and not yet established. Stories, yes, but not the lived reality. That can create a sense of pressure because the child wrongly feels that if they can’t from the onset of their career live up to a certain standard, they will not be successful enough for their parents to be proud of them. This sense may be even more present if they rarely see the parents who focus entirely on their career.
    And people who react as from under pressure rarely make the best decisions.

    • There are two syndromes combined in your comment, Charlotte. These are: The success Syndrome and the Inheritance Syndrome. They yield The False Success Syndrome.

      I liked your explanation explaining the reason why third generation loses the inheritance, It makes lot od sense. However, we have to remember that 70% of the inheritance is lost with the first generation as is the case in many countries including the USA. This I think is due to the False Success Syndrome. This happens when people start to believe that it is that their success story they became rich and they believe it when they have only inherited it.

      Yes, when the young find decent jobs they may realize the effort they need to make this money and so spend their money wisely.

    • Ali, I agree that the worst thing that can happen to a person is if they believe they got where they are without recognizing how many factors contributed positively to their story.
      Only last week somebody said “oh yes, if not for my father’s connections I would never have gotten to Stanford.” Recognizing helping hands is first step to gratitude without which one can forget to pay it forward.

    • Yes, itis important to acknowledge the people who extended hands to any body to achieve something. I add hopefully helping those people who worked hard and deserved help/

    • Hi Charlotte
      I’m not sure how to raise children with decent money sense. I’m not sure I did that well.

      I think it might have to do with the ideas in “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, whci I didn’t read till my kids were in their thirties. 🙂
      Maybe they’ll do better.

    • I am not sure if we did better, Alan. I think the best one can give them is an awareness that their worth as humans is not determined by material success and curiosity. If all things are interesting at some level, it makes the world more welcoming.
      Add an education on top if possible.