Toxic Success: Are You Too Successful For Your Own Good?

Maybe you have that phone conversation while driving to a meeting and grab your lunch on the way. Or maybe you check your email while talking to your kids as you're cooking dinner. It's multi-tasking, and one scientist says it's poisoning our lives. Here's his opinion on the trouble with always wanting more.

"The number one cause of early death -- and I'm saying this now as a scientist -- is toxic success," Honolulu clinical psychoneuroimmunologist Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., tells Ivanhoe. "That toxic success of, 'I'm going to have more. I'm going to do more,' just the opposite of these six words: have less, do less, say no."

Pearsall is author of the book Toxic Success: How to Stop Striving and Start Thriving.  He says today's lifestyle destroys lives.

"Think of all the time saving devices you have, and how little time you have," he says. "When you're at work you want to be with your kids, and when you're with your kids you feel guilty 'cause you're not at work.

That's why I tell my patients you can't get there if you're not here. At least be here."

Pearsall calls this way of living a mass affection deficit disorder -- too busy to love, too tired to care. He says the solution is simple, "Sit down, shut up and be where you are."

According to Pearsall, changing your ways starts the minute you wake up. "I'm going to put on my mind what I want there, first, not the alarm clock, not where are the kids, get this, grab that, it's going to be what I want on there," he says.

Pearsall says it's not about working less, it's simply about not embracing life. "The work will wait while you watch that rainbow," he says, "But the rainbow ain't going to wait while you do the work."

Still not sure if you're toxically successful? Imagine what the answer would be if you asked those closest to you this: Are you a true joy to live with every day? If you think they'll say yes, you're probably okay. If not, you may be on your way to toxic success.