The Curse of the Capable

What's the story that distracting and holding you back?

It's that story that's preventing you from making needed changes in your life.

If you are driving yourself non-stop the way most people do, with unconscious stories that keep you comparing yourself to others and proving yourself; and, so focused on success that you think you don't have the time or energy to take care of yourself, your body or your life, then it's time to ask why. It may be more than being busy, or having lots to do, or needing to make more money. It probably your story. 

Having a story that is not supporting you or what you are up to in the world is “The Curse" of the Capable person. At first, it's a mystery as to why you can't change, and eventually, it feels like you can't change at all. 

If you want to turn fear into strength, anxiety into action and go from getting by to feeling free by changing your story, then read this book and discover the 5-step change-your-story process.

Featured Book Reviews

Joanne Goldman

Executive Software Sales

I knew I was exhausted and needed a break from my high achieving life, but I didn’t begin to acknowledge my true condition until hearing John Allen speak at the 2006 CoachVille Conference. The more I learn through the 7-Step Performance Lifestyle Plan, the more I’m able to manage the precious energy that’s needed for goal achievement. Moving forward, my dedication to putting my health first will allow me to increase productivity without jeopardizing my health or success, like I have so many times before. I can achieve my work goals without sacrificing my performance goals! I look forward to further study and mastery of the process with the many resources provides.

Maret Maxwell

Bio Medical Engineer

And it works. I am 54 years old and have been applying this approach for just over one year. In that time, I’ve lost 25 lbs of body fat, my blood glucose has gone from being my doctor’s primary concern to a topic we don’t discuss, and I have all the energy that I need for my lifestyle. I don’t go to a gym and I don’t go hungry. But what is most important is that the approach was so easy to integrate into my life, that I know I will stay on track. The monthly year round support I get in the Training Center really helps!

Cindy McCormick

Convention Marketing Novo Nordisk

Almost one year ago today, John Allen and I started working together. I was unhappy with several aspects of my life: a low energy level, bad eating habits, a boring dead-end job and a going nowhere relationship. John Allen accessed my lifestyle and came to the conclusion that the single most important thing that I could do to improve my life was to (drum roll please) SLEEP!After several conversations with John, I was convinced to make a commitment to start adding sleep time. I started to feel much better almost immediately. No more falling asleep at my computer, less grouchy behavior and dreading getting up. I started getting out of bed to meet the day head on! Getting more sleep helped me find the energy to look for and land a new, exciting job and to end my going-nowhere relationship. My performance lifestyle is getting better and better!

Bob Quintana

Entrepreneur, Author Speaker Trainer

John Allen Mollenhauer is one of the most knowledgeable health, fitness and personal performance trainers I know. The material he teaches is not based on the latest ‘fad’ or ‘quick-fix diet.’ John teaches solid principles that have stood the test of time, so they WORK! I believe he can help virtually anyone significantly improve their level of vitality, health and success. I’ve taught programs and seminars in the area of health to thousands of people over the last 10+ years and when I have a question, John is one of the first (and best) resources I turn to. Now I know it is about performance. If you want to look, feel and perform better, John Allen can help—he knows what he’s talking about!!

Mira Kirshenbaum

Author of the Emotional Energy Factor, When Good People Have Affairs and Everything Happens for a Reason

"This is a rare and special book, wise and helpful, savvy and profound and should be a real life saver for millions who are actually prevented by their drive and ability from having lives that are genuinely satisfying. A wonderful road map not just to a good life but to a life that feels good."

Kirsten Clark

Founder, Chilli Factor’s Online Recruitment Resource

Love the book! Curse of the Capable provides the wisdom and social proof that living an `authentic life’ creates healthier happier lifestyles. No matter what is happening in someone’s life right now – there is a chapter here they will benefit from reading. Concluding each chapter with thought provoking questions and exercises helps the reader to start telling their own story from today! The available community and expert coaching support provides the reader with reassurance and encouragement to stick with their new goal to live an authentic life. Curse of the Capable provides the roadmap to ignite brain pattern changes such as more positive thoughts, empathy, and openness to diversity, hope and belief that will benefit the health and well-being of individuals, groups and our society at large! Now that's a great book!

Tom Terwilliger

Experience the Leap Executive Coach, Former Mr. America, and once Overworked do-it-yourselfer

“Wouldn’t it be great to be able to repair your own car, fix the lawn mower, write a book, start a web page, manage our own finances, and be in total control? As a nation we spend billions of dollars on how-to books all for the sake of becoming more capable; by why? What’s driving you to do it all yourself? Dr Ciaramicoli and John Allen Mollenhauer brilliantly capture the often over-looked and underestimated reasons why so many of us want to become so capable thinking we have to “do it all.”

Felicia J. Slattery, M.A., M.Ad.Ed

Experience the Leap Executive Coach, Former Mr. America, and once Overworked do-it-yourselfer

“In this ground-breaking book, readers discover the true power of interpersonal communication to heal, move forward, and have a fulfilling and happy life at work and at home. Perception and empathy along with a true understanding of the factors causing even those who are highly successful to feel inadequate, anxious, and dissatisfied with life are what will allow readers the chance to finally re-write their personal narratives and communicate from a new place of inner wisdom!”

Kevin Gianni

CEO Ann Marie Skin Care

“Wow! The Curse of the Capable explains, in exact detail, the biggest challenges faced with high achievers and how to break through stopping points along the way. I was immediately taken in by the real-life examples of extremely talented people who had found themselves stuck in one point of their lives and how changing their perspective could immediately release them from their self-imposed bonds. A great read for anyone who wants more in their personal and professional life!”

Eddie Enriquez

Founder CAP Elite, Co-Founder CEO Drill Stack

“This is a must read book if you ever want to live a lifestyle that works for you. The Curse of the Capable hits on the key aspects of lifestyle that most people don’t see. They are hidden and they are driving you, maybe non-stop. Why wait until you’ve accomplished a goal before you start living the lifestyle you want and need, to look and feel better, and function at healthy levels? In my business I have clients tell me as soon as they are done with a project or the summer is over they will start to exercise. They are missing the boat! Dr. Ciaramicoli and John Allen Mollenhauer have written a literal road map to getting free of what prevents people from being able to perform well, with real quality of life"

Shawn Phillips

CEO; Author, Strength for Life

“Are you feeling stressed, drained, and low on energy and satisfaction? The addiction to performance may be robbing you of the life you deserve. If a substance were turning your life upside down, at some point you’d be forced to make real changes. But when your “substance” is peak-performance the odds are not nearly so good. The Curse of the Capable has cracked the code to understanding why it can be so hard to change your lifestyle; it’s like a drink of water after years of running full speed in the desert. It lifts the burden and sets you on the path to creating a lifestyle that supports your performance rather than continuing the performance at the cost of your life.”

Thomas Houle

Senior Director Consumer Insight & Strategy Kraft Foods (ret.), Center Director of the Mankind Project International, New Jersey

“A rich insight in The Curse of the Capable is that ‘Only through the honest feedback of others can we discover the truth of who we really are.’. Dr. Ciaramicoli and John Allen Mollenhauer weave a practical path for taking that insight to action. Journaling the questions they pose with an honest and open heart can lead powerfully to that discovery experience, and I thank them for this book!”

Jeffrey A. Betman, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist

“Providing a roadmap to change from the inside out, The Curse of the Capable is worth its weight in gold to achievers. Applying psychological theory to real life, this book is a mini course on how and why our (inner) psychology drives our (outer) behavior. Dr. Ciaramicoli demonstrates the ability of people to get beyond their hidden struggles with heartbreaking clinical cases. This is not a book; rather this is a manual for personal change. Each chapter has provocative questions and specific actions to take toward revising your inner novel. Use this manual to rewrite your story, break the curse, and enjoy life!”

Rob Poulos

Founder Zero to Hero Fitness and Author of The Fat Burning Furnace.

“Take heart...what a difference this book can make in your life! “The Curse” is true...we are a society so focused on professional excellence that we have forgotten what true excellence really means. The answers of how we can be living for unconditional happiness and a fulfilling life await you in this wonderful book. Dr Ciaramicoli has created a must read for every parent, young adult and anyone who is “successful” but still feeling a bit empty inside.”

Vince Falone, LMT, CST,

Co-founder of Center for Relaxation and Healing, and Co-leader candidate in, the Mankind Project International

“At a time in our nation when so much importance is placed on doing and creating more, The Curse of the Capable shifts one’s attention to “balance and beingness” and dares to challenge long standing societal beliefs about fulfillment and happiness. The message that touches my core in this book is very clear, “any positive change I seek in my world must happen within me first”. The Curse of the Capable will inspire many!”

Robert Cherney, Ph.D.

LADC1, Chief Psychologist, Advocates Community Counseling Services, Framingham, Massachusetts.

“I have been following Dr. Ciaramicoli’s work since his publication of The Power of Empathy in 2000. His ability to understand the heart and soul of high achievers is quite amazing. The stories of his clients in his new book are poignant, heartfelt and full of the wisdom and insight that will lead good, talented people with the Curse to a level of happiness that has eluded them all of their lives. Dr. Ciaramicoli’s shares the strategies that will bring achievers the life they have always longed for while unleashing their highest potential in the process.”

T. Colin Campbell Ph.D

Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University Ithaca, NY, Author “The China Study”

“Happiness, the light that we all seek, may be elusive at times but the mere knowledge that there is such a mental state gives us hope to be and to do better. This book gives us a path to that end. Read it, to see for yourself.”

T. Colin Campbell Ph.D

Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University Ithaca, NY, Author “The China Study”

“Happiness, the light that we all seek, may be elusive at times but the mere knowledge that there is such a mental state gives us hope to be and to do better. This book gives us a path to that end. Read it, to see for yourself.”

Richard Werner

Senior Director, Data Center Management, Comcast Headquarters, Philadelphia.

“The insights in Dr. Ciaramicoli’s book Performance Addiction were profound in terms of corporate success. Now, with his new book, he has captured the essence of what drives us toward success at all costs. Many in the corporate world feel cursed and I, as a senior manager, have benefited greatly by reading and understanding the lives of Dr. Ciaramicoli’s clients as they work toward more complete health. Each story seems to convey a new way of succeeding in a stressful environment, especially as he describes the challenges we must all negotiate for solid self worth. I have recommended “The Curse of the Capable” to all my employees and will continue to learn from re-reading its content. This book goes far beyond the typical self help book to provide real ways of feeling balanced while operating on a very high level”

Catherine Pastille MA, MBA, Ph.D.

Business Administration President, The Hope Research Center, Inc. Smithfield, RI

The Curse of the Capable unveils the mystery of why capable people sometimes choose to live beyond the edge of their own health and well-being. In the stories of the Capable and through the accompanying reflective and active exercises in this book, we are empowered to glimpse our own fervent desire for a more vital life, to sharpen our budding insights, and to write a new chapter in the story of our personal and professional strivings. I can think of no better way to wake-up-into the life you’ve already worked so hard to build than to read and act on the wisdom you’ll find in this book.”

Catherine Pastille MA, MBA, Ph.D.

Business Administration President, The Hope Research Center, Inc. Smithfield, RI

The Curse of the Capable unveils the mystery of why capable people sometimes choose to live beyond the edge of their own health and well-being. In the stories of the Capable and through the accompanying reflective and active exercises in this book, we are empowered to glimpse our own fervent desire for a more vital life, to sharpen our budding insights, and to write a new chapter in the story of our personal and professional strivings. I can think of no better way to wake-up-into the life you’ve already worked so hard to build than to read and act on the wisdom you’ll find in this book.”

Paul J. Hindelang

President, Results-Systems Corporation

“What a good book! At first I wondered why I should care about all the dysfunctional stories illustrated from Dr. C’s client experiences. Then I saw the pattern of the Curse that all of us today experience. Taking off my own mask, I found words that explain the journey and pearls of wisdom that will help me improve my own healthy, high achieving life. There are great insights in this book that are worthy for reflection. Read it; you will be encouraged and freed.”

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum D.O

SRSHEART.COM Director, Women and Heart Disease Heart and Vascular Institute Lenox Hill Hospital, New York

“Understanding who you are becomes paramount to taking care of yourself. Making lifestyle choices begin with self-awareness, the story you tell about your life and how you are in the world. If this story is not supportive, it gives rise to Performance Addiction and a spectrum of unhealthy lifestyle choices which lead to the problems we see every day. This book, The Curse of the Capable enables people to gain insight into this not well explored or explained cycle of personal destruction that can occur even amongst the most accomplished. It is a great book to read if you want to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle, successfully.”

Linda M.

Project Manager

“As I read through the book, I also realized again how thankful I am and how blessed I am to be one of your patients. The stories are so powerful and of course as a group member I have personally witnessed the transformation of people, like myself, from being cursed to being free to live to our true potential. I wish that all those who have been trying so hard all their lives and yet never feeling complete would read and study the four stages outlined in your new book. I think if everyone would read my favorite chapter “The Spiritual Learner” we could bring about harmony in our world. Thank you for your patience and wisdom and for understanding what no one seemed to grasp in all my efforts to feel more fulfilled.”

Michael Port

New York Times Bestselling Author of “The Think Big Manifesto”

“Being a high-achiever doesn’t mean squat if you’re not healthy. Moreover, the healthier you are, the more you achieve. This book is a wakeup call and the antidote for those of us that are consumed by the fast pace of today’s world. But it won’t slow you down. In fact, it’ll put you on a fast train to the ultimate in well-being---complete health and substantial wealth.”

Frank M.

Owner of Construction Company

“My only regret in reading The Curse of the Capable Dr. C is that you didn’t write it ten years ago. Today I am mostly free of the obsessive drive to succeed at all costs but if I had known years ago what stages I needed to understand to make myself comfortable in my own skin I could have saved my marriage and been a better father. I hope every driven person who is misdirected to obtain love and success reads your book, the journal questions are challenging and they make you very thoughtful about what motivates your behavior. What a great compliment to our group experience. The stories are very moving and of course I recognized some of the people including myself. As I read through I felt hopeful for myself and all those like me who are capable but could never find the real key to success”

Coach Dave Buck


“Success at all costs is really not success at all and often leaves communities, families and lives in its vast depleted wake. If you have lived as a depleted high achiever, you probably know this already. But the BIG question is… what do you do about it? The Curse is a trap with no easy way out…until now! Dr. Ciaramicoli and Coach Mollenhauer have put together a deeply provocative game plan for true success like nothing I have seen before. In each stage you’ll discover insight, touching examples and juicy questions that reveal the core dynamics of “the curse”. Understand them so you can PLAY the games of your life again with joy, resiliency and full self-expression, and win.”

Rebecca S


“I don’t cry easily but I couldn’t hold back the tears as I read about all the people who have struggled with the Curse and never known the way out. After seeing several psychiatrists’, trying different meds and never feeling better I had lost hope. Then somehow I joined the group and the understanding and relief began slowly and has never stopped. The book reminds me of how compulsive achievement was for me, and how breaking free has given me the satisfaction in my life that has always been missing. You always say empathy is the key to success, it took my legal mind several months to believe you and I think you have given the reader many examples to make a most convincing case that without knowing how to enter the world of others we are lost in space.”

Joel Fuhrman, MD

Author, Eat to Live and Eat for Health, Family Physician, & Nutritional Researcher.

"This important book shows how the quest for impressive achievements can lead many down the path to unhappiness and self-destruction. This book is a must read for those wanting a better understanding of the human potential for self-peace and happiness that is obtainable by all. After all, our physical health is dependent on many factors, including our intimate and caring relationship with others and our mastery over our competitive drives that could sabotage those relationships."

John H.

Northeast Sales Manager

"As I read The Curse of the Capable I thought of the people I’ve known and others I haven’t known that haven’t been as fortunate as I and others in group. I thought of the star athlete you and I know who took her own life after a sports loss and how it might have been for her had someone like you been in her life. As I read through each of the 4 stages my heart swelled after each story and burst after each success which I know personally. I wanted to say this – You are a blessing Dr. C. A blessing for Anthony and me, Gina and the countless other lives you’ve touched. Nothing in life could ever compare to the significance of what you’ve done and continue to do for others – not a pro baseball contract, not running 50 marathons, not even a doctorate degree or writing a book or anything else for that matter could EVER compare. This book is your best ever!"

Tom K.

Retired CEO

"I drove my business to the top, working 80 hour weeks, traveling frequently and when I finally arrived I told my partner I felt Cursed. Why? No inner peace and just more to do every day, not at all like I imagined. I neglected my wife and children, all the while thinking we would all be happy once I was successful, had loads of money and a bigger house. Well, Dr. C, your book and your work has proven I, like many others, have been living according to a myth that drives each of us into the ground. I am proud to be one of the stories in your new book, proud because I am an example of someone who was lost and now who has learned the skills to be on the road to peace of mind. Your book, like your groups, requires hard work, nothing achievers will balk at but it is a different kind of work. It is work for the soul and the heart. Something I knew little about. Everyone will benefit from this book that makes the commitment to open up and learn. Congratulations!"

The Curse Of The Capable

If you’re driving yourself non-stop the way most people are, it’s time to ask why. It could be more than being busy or needing to make more money. It could also be your story. This is the crux of what we call the curse of the capable person. If your story is driving you non-stop for the wrong reasons to achieve results that will never come from what you achieve, you are likely suffering from a syndrome that could be ruining your life.

It’s called “Performance Addiction.”

Early in life, we create an internal novel, a fictitious story about ourselves that we write based on what we think is being reflected on us from those around us—as if we are looking at ourselves in a mirror. If the mirrors you are looking into are cracked or inaccurate, you get a distorted view of yourself, much like you would looking in a circus mirror. Thus, you create an inaccurate story about yourself and this story sets the stage for an irrational belief system. A lack of empathy creates an unsupportive internal story, a belief that you’re not quite good enough, which sets the stage for over-achievement to make up for what is secretly missing inside that’s driving you so hard. At first, it’s a mystery that you can’t stop yourself. Eventually, it becomes your curse.

A Performance Lifestyle is the antithesis of the performance addicted life. When you learn how to change your biased story, you can live
a life free of tension and anxiety and full of joy and meaningful achievement.

What is The Curse?

The curse is a mental state where talented people mask their vulnerabilities through their capabilities. We refer to the curse when people are trying very hard in their efforts to achieve and perform to win the respect and love of other people.

What happens when you try your hardest and yet you still can’t attain the healthy, balanced life you long for? What happens when you don’t understand the reasons your life is not satisfying? You feel cursed! You’re disappointed you’re not living the life you thought all your hard work would bring, and you feel run down in the process

Discover What Achievers

All over the world are realizing

The story you created about yourself early in life, which is part fiction, is having a dramatic impact on your present lifestyle. It’s affecting how you think and live.

The assumption that all capable people in our culture have peace of mind and are satisfied with their life course is commonplace. Is this notion true? Not always. Millions have fallen prey to a belief system that says appearance and status provide the golden road to love and respect. In an attempt to perfect themselves, they are hiding their self-doubt through constant achievement at the cost of losing balance and well-being. They are suffering from being emotionally and physically overwhelmed, exhausted, and fatigued.

The Curse of the Capable examines how a biased view can lead to a fragile sense of self, addictive thinking and behavior, and a seemingly mysterious downward spiral that the majority of people can’t see or untangle.

In "The Curse of the Capable," you will read about men and women who long for intimacy and strive for perfection in an effort to please those around them. Ultimately, they feel defeated, depleted of energy, and misunderstood; all while feeling obligated to perform for others at all costs. This book addresses the hidden challenge capable people have in taking care of themselves.

Each aspect of this hidden challenge is discussed through the poignant stories of everyday achievers from diverse backgrounds: housewives, lawyers, teachers, contractors, models, trainers, doctors, media personnel, corporate executives, and professional athletes.

Turn Fear into Strength, Anxiety into Action and Go From Getting by To Feeling Free Relatively Fast with...

The 5-Stage "Change Your Story"


1. Uncover Your Story

Uncover the sotry you created from compelling and find out why it isn't serving you.

2. Discover the Consequences of Your Story

Learn about the concept of performance addiction, an irrational inaccurate belief system that is hardwired early in life and reinforced by cultural expectations.

3. Acknowledge the Emotional Impact of Your Story

See how the six trials of adulthood-expectations, regrets and unfulfilled dreams, control, fear, intimacy, and community-are amplified by performance addiction and can have a significant effect on your behavior.

4. Recognize How Your Story Distorts Your Thinking

Become keenly aware of the distortions in thinking that result from the curse.

5. Change your Story

Tell a real but optimistic leaning story about you, the situation, or circumstance that improves your self image.

Free Yourself From The Curse


The Curse of the Capable will guide you in creating a balanced, healthy, high-achieving life, free of the guilt and tension of the past that is driving you crazy. By mastering the skills in this book, you will be able to change your story, remove the curse from your life, develop a resilient sense of self, and open yourself up to ongoing learning without bias or preconceived notions.



Dr. Arthur P. Ciaramicoli

Dr. Arthur P. Ciaramicoli, author of the books The Power of Empathy
and Performance Addiction, has spent the last 30 years studying, treating, and freeing capable people from all walks of life from the challenges that ruin the lives of otherwise intelligent, talented people and will help you balance your success.


John Allen Mollenhauer

John Allen Mollenhauer has spent the last 20 years dealing with the consequences of over achievement and will show you how to get out of the downward spiral and move forward in a position of strength by improving your lifestyle.
It’s all in how you achieve your goals.

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