Mindfulness · Paradigm Shift

Is There A “Right” Way To Pursue Success?


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 



17 thoughts on “Is There A “Right” Way To Pursue Success?

  1. “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. ” Yes, keeping chasing that illusion…keep trying to grab smoke…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this post and it is spot on (I actually wrote something along a similar vein today). I love that you have the Kardashians, who have nothing but self-promotion as their avenue to success, as your photo for this post, while the rest of us (or most of us) struggle with the daily grind of trying to “keep up with the Kardashians” or anyone else who endlessly self-promote themselves. That is not authentic. What IS authentic is being true to yourself, believing in what you do, and keeping at it, no matter how frustrating it can be. So keep going. You are doing great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Is it possible for “self-promotion” to come from an authentic place? And what benefit comes from one person using his or her worldview to decide whether other people are living their truth?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I recently read The Happiness Advantage in our book group. Achor writes much of the book in the tone of a sales pitch, but I think his points (Seven Principles of Positive Psychology) are valid.
    His overarching point is that happiness causes success, and not the other way around. We keep reaching for goals, thinking we will feel achievement and happiness once we meet them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chelsea. Thanks for sharing. Is it possible that happiness leads to success and success leads to happiness. Can it be both? We could also ask if happiness comes before one’s purpose or purpose before happiness. And where does one’s individuality, experience and worldview come into play?


      1. After reading through the book, I’d have to point out that “happiness” is defined as the deep and purposeful sort (not some sort of temporary pleasure, like eating chocolate). He points out that having success be the milestone repeatedly puts it farther out -until it’s a goalpost beyond the horizon (you can listen to his TED Talk).
        So much of the book resonated with me, because I have a lower baseline of happiness (your reference to “individuality” and “worldview”). I need to have a different approach, because I have become burned out from the ideas of affirmation (trying to tell myself to be happier) and meeting a goal first.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Josiah,
    You make a good point, that our culture “encourages the pursuit of material success.” It seems that American society believes that money, status, and power are happiness. I recently read in a magazine that “Busyness has acquired social status.” As a culture, many don’t know how much is too much. No one seems to know when to stop – When to push away from the table, to be less judgmental with their physical self, to enjoy their current professional status, or be content with a suitable income so that family becomes the priority? I don’t believe that “high-status is a welcome distraction from a dysfunctional life.” My feeling is, tragically, this mindset is what we are conditioned to believe. How about we start to reimagine the meaning of success, and reprogram ourselves to define individual truths?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Renee, thank you for sharing. How would “reimagining the meaning of success and reprograming ourselves to define individual truths” prepare us for what comes after?
      Wouldn’t “reimagining and reprogramming” take us right back to where we were, and that’s living what we deem as truth? For many, happiness is found in the pursuit. For others, happiness leads to the pursuit. Could it be that our own thinking needs to evolve so as to tolerate and accept the many versions of what happiness entails?


      1. Hey Josiah,
        I actually don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. Often times, people are so focused on the goal at the end, that “pot of gold” if you will, they forget about the journey getting there. If we reimagine or redefine success, then perhaps as a culture we will be able to reprogram individuals to think independently and define self-truth. Currently, my belief is that as a society, for the most part, wealth, status, and power define success. If you don’t reach that goal or achieve it, you have failed in some way. I don’t believe in failure, and I do think you and I are saying works together.

        Liked by 1 person

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