Don’t aim at success

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.

Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run — in the long-run, I say! — success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.” – Viktor Frankl

This is my all-time favourite quote. Whenever I overthink “success” I come back to this. Whenever I peer in lust at material possessions, I come back to this. Whenever I question my decisions in life, I come back to this. This is more than just a quote to me, these words are my guiding principles. The script that protects me from the evils of modern addictions.

Most “inspirational quotes” fluff up our enthusiasm for just a second. Just long enough to believe the quote had any value. They’re what Amy Hoy calls entreporn – words, or stories, of success designed to make us believe we too can achieve superstardom. In reality, these quotes are damaging. I prefer my inspiration with a sprinkling of pessimism and reality, for those are the words we can truly learn from.

Joseph Pack

Join hundreds of readers who get a curation of writing, and interesting links on how to live a good (enough) life delivered to their inboxes every week:

Disclaimer: all advice is autobiographical, your mileage may vary