THE SEARCH FOR MEANING…
There was a time when discipline, hard work, and dedication to one’s craft lied at the heart of personal achievement and professional success. Nowadays, it appears as if it is inconsequential as to how one reaches or acquires success. The end result is the only thing that seems to matter.
That is, success has been popularized to the point where the new success mantra has become “by any means necessary.” The present expectation based on the zeitgeist of hashtags and selfies is to attain success, not through skill, talent, or effort, but through peerless self-promotion, indiscretionary behavior, and exploitative tactics.
Why bother with the process, the sacrifices and the commitment? The end game—the huge contracts, influencer status, living in the spotlight—are the only things that are of any consequence, relevance, or significance. Advertisers, sponsors, promoters, even parents are touting a value system that measures success based on numbers—the number of social media followers and amount of money accrued.
Society has placed such a high premium on fame-seeking that any other path to success is viewed as off-putting and detached from current reality. Many well-meaning people are romanticizing the illusory sacrosanct goal called the American Dream to the point where they are willing to compromise their relationships, health, morality, and long-term happiness.
Is there a right or wrong way to pursue and capture success? To what degree should one tailor his or her reality to achieve success? What does it say about society’s value system when success is measured by wins, losses, and the end result? And who gets to decide what actions are acceptable as it relates to achieving one’s goal?
Being a product of a system or a culture that encourages the pursuit of material success at any cost as a way to happiness is not something from which one can easily unplug. For many, the 24/7/365 preoccupation and infatuation with the pleasures associated with high-status artifacts and vanity is often a welcome distraction from the dysfunctional reality called life.
In contrast, when an individual’s philosophical orientation is in harmony with self-transcending values that focus on character building, cooperation, pushing through adversity, and finding authenticity, success outcomes are no longer the end game. From this framework, wealth, abundance, and happiness become a byproduct of living from an authentic place within.
Human ambition is one of the most creative forces in the universe—it can be used to build or destroy. So, work hard, shoot for the stars and live your truth.
Featured image credit: E Entertainment