As a therapist, I’ve had the opportunity to work with individuals who have achieved remarkable success in a variety of life areas. When I consider this collection of unusually successful individuals, I ask myself a question: What is the true value of success?
When people achieve their most ambitious goals, they come face-to-face with a profound life lesson. They learn that all milestones, all accomplishments–no matter how extraordinary–only provide temporary fulfillment. This is true whether you achieve financial freedom, marry your ideal romantic partner or run a dozen marathons. These accomplishments tend to elevate your mood for about six months–then you’re back to your baseline of life satisfaction. If success does not equal lasting happiness, then what good is it?
True Benefit of Success
Ironically, the true benefit of success is in learning that success isn’t exactly what you thought it would be. When you learn that achievement does not permanently fulfill you, you start to look inward. You pay more attention to your mind, your heart, your body. You continue to pursue your life goals, but the journey is no longer an exhausting addiction. You start to see your career, your marriage, your hobbies, as vehicles for better understanding yourself. It’s good to have goals, because with every goal comes an obstacle. It’s overcoming these obstacles, time and time again, that eventually forces you to go inward. More self-awareness. This is the crucial key to true contentment.< So when all else fails, try to accomplish your most ambitious goals as quickly as possible. Then you can decide for yourself if success, however you define it, truly satisfies.