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‘Success Addicts’ Choose Being Special Over Being Happy

Arthur C. Brooks: But specialness doesn’t come cheap. Apart from some reality-TV stars and other accidental celebrities, success is brutal work, and it requires sacrifices. In the 1980s, the physician Robert Goldman famously found that more than half of aspiring athletes would be willing to take a drug that would kill them in five years in exchange for winning every competition they entered today, “from the Olympic decathlon to the Mr. Universe.” Later research found that up to 14 percent of elite performers would accept a fatal cardiovascular condition in exchange for an Olympic gold medal — still a shockingly high number, in my estimation.

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