The price of success. How much are we willing to pay?

The price of success. How much are we willing to pay?

Many of us ask ourselves the question: how do we become more successful, how do we realize our full potential without sacrificing ourselves and our relationships with our loved ones? We asked psychotherapists and psychologists to tell the readers of our website: What is the price of success? How to determine self priorities and is it possible to be successful in everything?

Success at any cost. What’s wrong with this stereotype?

Many men and women, especially under the age of 35, are puzzled by the question of how to become more successful. Everyone understands this task in his or her own way:

  • Someone, for example, wants to achieve success in business and enjoy the interest of the opposite sex;
  • Another person wants to make a career;
  • Others want to become famous;
  • There are people who want to make a wealth;
  • Others want to marry well, have children, and live in a country house.

There are many formulas of success, books on the subject and training to develop the ability to achieve their goals. Achievement motivation is one of the priority areas of psychology. But does everyone need it?

You have to understand that not all people can be successful at the same time. There are routine tasks in everyone’s life that we cannot eliminate. And they will slow us down on the way to the goal. However, it is impossible to forget about other aspects of our life, as this can lead to self-destruction (we will discuss this below).

Similarly, not every achievement equals success. The term success has three characteristics:

  1. Success is something I have planned myself (the achievement of my dreams or the realization of my plan). Not someone else’s, mine. Of course, I can also work for the overall result. But if I see nothing of my own in it, I am likely to treat it as my help to another person (the team) or as a well-done assignment. But not as a personal success;
  2. Success does not depend on luck and chance. We consider success to be something that is achieved as a result of our efforts, calculations, and labor. Moreover, we know a subtle psychological law: “The more labor and time something has cost me, the higher the subjective value of the result for me”;
  3. It is successful exactly for me. Success is very subjective: what is a success for me may be a failure for another. Whether the result becomes a success or not, I define it myself. Psychologist Eric Berne believed that among people there are winners, non-winners and losers.

Success is a very subjective concept: each person in his life sets different goals for himself, considers how to become more successful. Based on this, at the end of life man can sum up whether he have achieved what he want. If yes, he is a winner. And if he wanted to do better, but it turned out as usual – he is a loser. And if he wanted to do something, but did not reach the goal, because stopped halfway or one step away from it – he is a non-winner.

You see how subjective this definition is. I really like one example of this theory: the person who wanted to be president and became prime minister is just an non-winner. But the person who wanted to raise three children and did so is a winner. Therefore, you should not envy other people’s successes. All people have a different understanding of this word.

The price of success. How much are we willing to pay?

As for our desire to become successful. One of the most important and unobvious truths about path to success is this:

  • We cannot guarantee one hundred percent success. As long as we do something, we cannot be sure of anything. According to researchers approximately only half of our success depends on our efforts and abilities;
  • The second reason is that success is above human will. It cannot be controlled by willpower. Of course, no one will honestly admit this, especially show business people and businessmen. However, success is often just a coincidence. And that is a fact.

And since this is the case, we can only hope, wishing for a tailwind or good luck. We can prepare the conditions for success, try and learn how to become more successful, but we cannot guarantee anything. For success, however we look at it, is the result of two components: effort and luck.

We have to pay for everything or the reverse side of success

When I discuss the cost of success, I immediately remember this wonderful verse:

You have to pay for everything, but that’s the price of success.
For every momentous rise,
For skill, for fame and glory,
For sweet moments of joy and laughter.

Flowers, admirers, triumph, applause
Take the deceptively lively soul captive.
How generously life gives happy moments,
And what does it take in return?

An empty house with unwashed dishes
And loneliness at a social gathering in a crowd,
Where flattery and lies are everywhere
And imaginary friends come as if they were half asleep.

And the years that have flown like the wind
They take away youth, talent and beauty,
Leaving an old disc, a faded fan,
The betrayal of friends and emptiness.

And only in pictures, happy laughter,
But such is the price of success.

Yes, sometimes it happens that our success costs us too much. How many people are in their pursuit of success have lost their loved ones, friends, respect of society…

It is not enough to achieve success, you have to learn how to manage it. There are many stories of people who have “lost their heads” from quick success and fallen back to the ground.

Another insidious attribute of success is that it constantly raises the “slats of life”. With each achievement, our ego demands more and more success, and eventually we find ourselves unable to reach new heights.

A good example of failing to reach new heights is Michael Jackson. The man is the king of pop music and undoubtedly a very successful musician. However, the dizzying success of the 80s and 90s he never was able to repeat. And this situation ultimately ruined him.

Success is a very powerful drug. Fulfilling the task of “becoming more successful” means that we have not only accepted the challenge, but have found ourselves well-off in the face of it. When we fail to realize our projects, we feel bad. So bad that we begin to need a quick and bright success. And the worse our affairs are, the less satisfied we are with ourselves, the more success we need. And we are no longer as careful in our choice of means, because we need this “drug” more and more.

For some people who have not experienced success for a long time (it does not matter if they actually had it or if it went unnoticed), the need for great success develops into the phenomenon of “waiting for a miracle”. The person no longer hopes for himself, but feels keenly that fate owes him a lot and justice can only be restored if a miracle happens. Therefore he decides to take an adventure, ceases to see the situation realistically, and he is so easily deceived.

The price of success. How much are we willing to pay?

Dependency on success is the surface of the big problem. It is an example of psychological addiction, similar to drug or alcohol addiction. But if drugs and alcohol are the lot of people with a weak will, then addiction to success is dangerous for hard-working and strong-willed people. As a rule, these are those people who are not able to assess themselves fairly. And they are looking for external proof of their competence. For them self-value is determined by external attributes of success: the position, the brand of the car, belonging to the prestigious and established.

Different people come to me with such problems. Although most often they are outwardly successful, solid, ambitious, and sometimes cynical people with money. They talk about desolation and depression. Sometimes it’s presented as a midlife crisis: they’ve proved everything to themselves, but they don’t know what to do next.

These successful people have many things, achievements, money but they have no sense of happiness. They are constantly troubled by the anxiety of failure, which they cannot afford.

Their stress increases with each year, as well as the tension of being carried away with only a new task that is more difficult than the previous one (easy tasks have become boring). They also have a growing insecurity about their own good attitude, that suddenly they will not become an empty place, if they remain without positions, lose their fortune, or their beloved woman leaves them… They have to constantly control their emotions, because this is the mask of success, which they once put on themselves.

So is it possible to achieve success and stay happy?

Of course, yes. But under certain circumstances:

  • You must to do what you have a talent for;
  • You must to do what you like to do;
  • It must be something that benefits not only you, but also the society.

Why is the last point so important? It’s all about the energy (or karma) coming to you from outside. If your business is built on deceiving people, it is draining not only their wallets, but also your inner energy. And sooner or later there comes a moment when you are already a lonely decrepit old man with a reputation as a liar and an outcast of society. It’s a strange path to happiness, isn’t it?

That’s why there are so many rich people among my patients. In their pursuit of dreams, success, and money, they have completely forgotten about generosity and humanity. They have a lot of money, but there’s an emptiness inside in their souls. And all they have to do is hang on to their money for fear of losing the only measure of their success.

But is money the only measure of success? Of course not! You can become successful by writing a great book or a song, by releasing a product that is useful to society, or by building a clinic or a school or a stadium for young children. Remember: By helping people and doing good deeds you replenish the negative energy and fill the emptiness inside you.

The price of success. How much are we willing to pay?

Of course, people become different on the road to success. And you can’t just snap your fingers and change yourself. Many successful careerists, stars and businessmen often have to do things that aren’t to their liking. They often have to eliminate their competitors, “play dirty”, “walk on some heads”, treat people differently than they would like them to treat them.

All of these paths lead to success. But do they lead to happiness? I doubt it.

Everything in our universe is tied to harmony. One part cannot be separated from another. Success, inner freedom and happiness are compatible things. Success comes to those who are absolutely and wholeheartedly devoted to their business, to those who do not think of themselves outside it, to those who exist organically within the framework of what they do and receive from it, above all, inner satisfaction and self-expression…

There is no need to rush around looking for the “keys to success” or “recipes for a happy life,” picking out here and there some “right” phrases, pages, paragraphs, sentences, trying to put them together as a puzzle into the proverbial “secret”. All of this certainly works, but only in addition to your holistic self. Find yourself, don’t waste yourself on trivialities, find yourself anew if you’ve already been caught in the whirlwind of life.

How to achieve success and remain yourself? It’s very simple. First, try to change your attitude toward success. There are forces that no one can control. An unfavorable set of circumstances can turn a fully prepared success into a failure. So treat it philosophically (Who does nothing is not mistaken).

And the second recommendation: “Don’t get hung up on just one thing”. Yes, I understand that it is difficult, especially in business, where there is a lot of money at stake, which cannot be returned if the business collapses. But nevertheless you should try to learn to look at life holistically, in harmony with family, health, hobbies, travel, entertainment… That is, you must fill your life with meaning, focusing not only on one process. And then you can allow yourself to be happy with yourself, justify yourself and respect yourself, even if you do not succeed. In the end, we can always tell ourselves that we did a good job not only to appear successful, but also to make life a little better.


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