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Why does success matter?

I’ll admit it: I am easily seduced by success. I admire successful people and I’m driven to achieve success.

For the past couple of years I’ve read at least one business or personal development book a month so that I could understand how to make Ignited Leadership as successful as possible. I used to check half a dozen business and leadership blogs every day.

Recently, I paused to get some perspective on my life and work. As I spent time reflecting I realized that my drive to succeed was making me insane. It was filling me with anxiety and constantly making me feel inadequate because I was trying to achieve someone else’s vision of success, instead of my own.

Modern America is plagued by blind ambition. We are told – sometimes by the people around us, and constantly by society and the media as a whole – that it is innately good to to be successful, to be the boss, to make lots of money, to be famous, and to have expensive possessions. In fact we are told that it’s not just good, it’s the goal.

Though blind ambition is common, it is truly a plague.

Not only does blind ambition prevent you from figuring out what’s right for you, it forces you to constantly compare yourself to others. Your power to feel happy and successful will rest with everyone but you. You’ll quietly feel inadequate and flawed because there will always be someone with better grades, more money, more experience, and a fatter bank account. So you’ll work and work and work and one day you’ll either burn out, or you’ll “succeed” only to realize that you were on a path that never actually mattered to you. You’ll realize that “success” isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Instead of getting swept away by society’s siren call of blind ambition, figure out what success truly means to you.

Pause and think about out what you really want to do. Figure out how you want to impact the world, what will truly make you happy (which is almost always different than what society implies will make you happy), and what you want to achieve for yourself.

Learn to ignore blind ambition and the pursuit of generic success. They only bring stress and anxiety. Define success for yourself and work towards that. Your true vision for yourself – that’s what matters.

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