When is it OK to Drink Your Own Kool-Aid? | Danny's Universe

The phrase mentioned in our title has an evil origin that we won't talk much about here.

Today's cultural definition, and how it pertains to you, is what we will concentrate on.

However, if you're curious as to where the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" came from, do a web search, and you will learn of a maniacal cult leader in Jonestown, Guyana.  

My understanding is that this evil leader persuaded his followers to commit mass suicide, by voluntarily drinking a fatal dose of a grape flavored powdered drink mix that had been laced with cyanide. 

Sadly those adults and children who refused to "volunteer" were killed, with some members escaping the tragedy.  We should always be careful who we follow.  All mortal men (and women) are fully capable of leading others astray, so be careful who you follow.

Now that our foundation is laid, hopefully my point(s) below will make sense to you. 


Nowadays, "Drinking your own Kool-Aid"  has come to mean that a person believes in their own idea to such a great extent that they press ahead despite all logic and reason, even to their own detriment.

When is it ok?
You guessed it!  My answer is that it pretty much depends on you. 

I will share a personal story below, but first lets talk about you a little bit.

Outside factors always come into play when building something of consequence.  

  • The timing is never perfect.  
  • There will always be detractors. 
  • It's always hard work. 
  • The odds are always in favor of failure and heavily against you. 

Having said that, if you're the type of person who is self aware, and also aware of others - you have a better shot at success.

The reason is simple.  This type of person will recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and see where they best fit into the overall scheme of whatever they are trying to accomplish. 

Example A.
Lets say there are two individuals who want to become doctors.  While this is a noble profession, there are many obstacles on the road to success.

A few of the obstacles are the many years of advanced schooling, obtaining a residency, becoming licensed and certified, and thankfully there is much more.

Person #1 has been a good student since preschool, learns easily, gets along well with others, follows directions well, was voted at the top of his/her class.  His/her fallback career was in law or finance.

Person #2 passed all required tests, however the advanced classes didn't come easy, often argues with others, sometimes bends the rules. He/she has always had the dream of becoming a doctor to help his/her fellow man with no secondary career in mind.

The question for you is, who would you like to have as your doctor 10 years into his/her practice? 
Please leave your answer and reasoning in the comments section below.  
I will do the same.

If Person #1 or Person #2 were lazy, tired easily, cared more about becoming a doctor for the money and prestige than helping people, they would not (in my opinion) be a good doctor.  

Most likely they would not even have the opportunity and responsibility to practice medicine.  If they did meet all of the requirements, they would never feel fully fulfilled in their career without growing as a person.

My point is that if you know yourself, and whatever it is you are getting into, you have a far better chance of success than you would have otherwise.

It is also good to have at least one person in your life who you can trust to give you wise council.

To my way of thinking, this needs to be a person who will advise you honestly, despite the possibility of offending you and hurting your feelings.  

I don't mean this person needs to be a jerk, just knowledgeable.  Above all else, they need to be honest.

There is an ancient script that says, "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." 

Having said that, you need to remember that the opinion of your mentors is just that.  It is only their opinion.  This is why it is vitally important to choose good counselors.

As a side note, someone may be a good mentor concerning one thing, but not another.  I would not ask my trash man for advice on medical symptoms I'm experiencing.  

I would also not ask my doctor for his opinion on how to re-wire the electrical system in my car.  Imagine getting that bill in the mail!

While this may sound elementary, people make this mistake all the time.  How many times have you heard about someone asking their brother-in-law what he thinks of a new business venture they are considering?

The brother-in-law may be the best guy around.  If he doesn't have all of the facts though, a head for business, a clear mind, and (above all) your best interests at heart, he would be a poor counselor on this subject.  

Sometimes things are not as they appear  
We like to think that those we love, love us in the same way.  They want us to do well and succeed, right?  

This is NOT always true.

I wrote about this in a post titled, Your loved ones may be sabotaging you. Click here to read.

Assuming that you have surrounded yourself with the perfect mentorship team, your success still comes down to YOU.

My story
Years ago, I had a couple of experiences that taught me a valuable lesson about myself.  I hope you can learn something from this.

I had owned and published a magazine for a couple of years, and was experiencing some success in my local market.  People were starting to recognize me around town, and treat me increasingly well.

One day I was visiting with my former pastor in his office.  He's someone I've known literally my entire life.  He watched me grow up, and knows me and my family quite well.  

He has been there for weddings, funerals, special days and normal days.  I've seen him thousands of times.

Next to my own parents, I consider him to have had the greatest personal influence on my life of anyone I've personally known.

The reason for my visit that day was so I could ask him if he would be interested in writing a monthly column for my publication.  

As I sat across from him at his desk, I looked around his office while he looked my magazine over.  He was quite complimentary, and said yes.  He thought it was very well done and liked what I was doing.

As we continued to visit, I asked him a question.  Please remember that this was a man who counseled me (one-on-one and from his pulpit), for decades.

I asked him, "If I had come to you and asked if I should start this magazine, would you have said yes?"

His answer was not unexpected.  

He said that without having done anything like this before, he would have said no, that I should get some experience working for someone else first. 

I totally understood his reasoning, and if I had been in his shoes, I would have made the same recommendation.

NOTE:  I am writing about some of the techniques I used to start my print magazine in another blog post. In the future, you will be able to click here.

Later, I was visiting with my dad.  I told him our Pastor was going to be writing articles for the new Faith Section I was adding to the magazine.

He was pleased, and thought it was a good idea.

I then told him what I had asked my Pastor, and asked him the same question.

He said no, he would not have advised me to start my own magazine in the way I did it.

This taught me a huge, invaluable lesson.  I firmly believe that both men wanted what was best for me.

However, they saw me in a different way than I saw myself.  I do not mean this in a bragging way.

I am only saying this to make the point that only YOU can decide when it is time to sip from the kool-aid.

Of course, there is much more than self-confidence needed to accomplish any great task.

I invite you to read past and future blog posts, as I delve into some of the tools you need.

Until next time,
Love one another

Disclaimer: I believe the philosophy I put forth here.  I believe my points are valid.  However, all situations are not equal.  If you are in dire need please speak to a respected faith leader or professional counselor in your area.  The thoughts and opinions here are my own and should not take the place of professional advice.


  1. This is getting Better & Better each time Danny.........Maybe Evan starting to make me think a little Harder........!

    1. I'm glad you like it my friend.
      Thank you for supporting me and giving a kind word.

  2. Great perspective Danny.....thanks for writing and sharing.

  3. Thank you for reading and taking to time to comment Tammy!
    I appreciate you!