Let’s start with discussing what “success” is.
Put in simple terms, it’s a positive situation you reach after efforts. Its standard definition is “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose”.
I believe this definition itself is where our problems stem from. There are many ways to “succeed”.
Success is personal
If you try to run a marathon and you reach the end, you’ve succeeded. Yet what you consider a success may not be one for another runner. They may say you need to run it under a certain time.
Despite the word having one single definition, success represents many different things for each of us.
Yet, when it comes to the game of life, the definitions merge once again.
We all want to be happy
Nobody wants a success which brings sadness and nobody wants to be happy for a minute.
While Happiness takes many forms, in itself, it is a common goal which isn’t reached through one specific action.
Achieving goals contributes to happiness overall, but it is also extremely internal. True happiness comes from within.
If the ultimate goal is to be happy then, how can we succeed well enough to stay happy?
We always want more
Have you ever played a game and thought “Oh, just one more time”, had a drink with friends and said “One last round” or such?
We know it’s irrational and yet we keep on doing it. We just want a bit more and then another bit and then just a tad again.
What about when you learn a certain technique and you hear a friend already knows the next one? It pushes you — or to be more precise, it pulls you — towards the top, to try to get better faster than you originally anticipated.
Having people above, further advanced than you will constantly push you to extend your horizons.
Is the “top” pleasant? I’ll let the common adage answer for me:
It’s lonely at the top.
While reaching the top will most probably stay the goal for all of us, in reality, it is better to never reach truly reach it. As long as someone is above, you will strive more towards your goals.
There is one extra reason why it is better not to be a the top. You lose the clear proof that there is better.
If you reach the top of your field, after years and years of efforts, the simple change from being “below” someone else to being “above” the rest could make you lose your focus towards betterment.
After all, if there was better than you, you wouldn’t be at the top, would you?
In reality, it is just a matter of time. Someone will get above soon enough if you lose track of the most simple and crucial aspect of life. As Jim Jefferies says at the end of his show:
“I think we can all do better.”
And I couldn’t agree more. The only way to truly succeed and be happy is to accept happiness and goals as journeys instead of fixed objectives.