Don’t Aim at Success

Most people want to be ‘successful.’ But ’success,’ by itself, makes for a poor target.

Victor Frankl, survivor of the Nazi concentration camps and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, said this about chasing 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… as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.” –Viktor Frankl

‘Success’ is one of those vague words that people define in a variety of ways. For some, the idea of being successful is tied up in accruing money or garnering fame. For others, it may revolve around acquiring credentials or other professional achievements. Still others may think of it in terms of their relationships and character.

Regardless of how you define success, though, it’s important to remember that success in itself is only a side-effect. It’s something that arises from how you live your life in regards to all the other things that are important to you.

So if you really want to be ‘successful’, first determine what you’re willing to give yourself to, and then focus on investing in that. And as you do this, ‘success’, whatever that means, will take care of itself.

Of course, it would also be wise to make sure that whatever you choose to invest in is actually meaningful enough to merit this kind of dedication.