Frustrated By Success


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As a child, I read Richie Rich comics.

Richie was fabulously wealthy, with his personal butler, Cadbury, his robotic maid, Irona, and an endless collection of gadgets, toys and exotic presents.

The tag line of Richie Rich always fascinated me, though, because it sounded so contradictory…

“The Poor Little Rich Boy”

We are all familiar with the idea of being frustrated by failure.

It is an easy concept to identify with – because we’ve all failed at something, know how frustrating it can be, and know things would have been different if only we had succeeded.

But how can success be frustrating?!

Strange as it may sound, it is far more common than it seems.

I’ve come across many people who are widely considered “successful”, yet they manifest behavior and attitudes suggesting discontent, lack of fulfillment, and frustration.

No, it’s NOT that they want bigger success, higher profit, larger achievements.

On the contrary, they have suddenly realized that what they’ve been striving for so uni-dimensionally… just doesn’t seem quite enough!

That’s a harsh reality to wake up to one morning.

Steven Covey explains it vividly with the example of a man who climbs a tall tree in a jungle, reaches the top, looks around – and only then realizes he’s in the WRONG jungle!

How to guard against this?

By having a deeper purpose to what you’re doing.

A noble, worthy, sublime reason why for all that you get involved in. An over-arching mission that glues all components of your work and life together.

No, don’t make it an obsession – or it’ll be just as deadly a trap.

Instead, make it your motivation, your inspiration, your energy source that you can tap into for an emotional refill from time to time.

It helps if that mission is directed outwards, at other people or the world around us, making it a better place in some way. Such selfless purpose can be selfishly rewarding – by making you feel good about yourself, by giving you higher self-esteem, by enjoying a deep soul-filling satisfaction.

But even when your purpose is more personal, limited to your close inner circle, or even just to yourself, it can still be just as effective and powerful in giving your work meaning.

You will succeed FOR a reason.

And when you succeed, it will NOT feel frustrating.

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