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Is the drive for success and money making you unhappy?

Within the western culture there seems to be this constant drive to “be someone” to make something of ourselves and to be successful. It is the reason why our economies are built up and why we have more “stuff” than perhaps our third world countries.
James and I were looking at a role in Papua New Guinea. The people there live off the land and have a completely different attitude to life. Everything revolves around the family and giving back to their communities. They live in huts and grow their own food. It sounds idyllic somehow doesn’t it?
The difficulty is, we can’t seem to accept a mediocre life. Somehow that doesn’t seem enough and we always strive for more. Is this what makes western people so unhappy? The drive to be more and not always getting more?
Perhaps this constant drive, constant wanting more that actually makes us unhappy. Think about it…. is it ever really enough? Does all this stuff, the stuff money buys going to make us happy? Does running yourself into the ground to achieve, to have more to be more, ultimately give us more?
James and I have always wanted our own block of land in the country to build a little bed & breakfast and grow our fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, it has taken us some time to realise that this dream requires money. Once that ugly word enters into things, somehow it becomes obsessive. We get all worked up about wanting more money and being more and having more. We start to compare ourselves to others and what others have achieved, we look at where we are at and wish we could done more……
Do you have that? Do you wish you had achieved more by this time of your life? Does the idea of being successful make you stress more, want to be more, make you unhappy? I know this obsession is often why people do achieve more as they eventually work out a plan to get them there but what if one never does? What if all these dreams and plans never amount to anything? Does one then turn into a bitter and angry person at the age of 60? Is that why there are so many grumpy old men in the world? Perhaps……
I know that my drive is a good thing is some regard, provided I channel it and recognise that things take time to build, but when I look over my life I often recognise that it is this very drive that also makes me sick. It makes endo worse and makes my focus on my health, eating well, lifestyle choices and all elements within maintainin balance harder. The drive and target seems to take up everything and it is this very reason I believe it can make us sick.
So, what do we do about it?
I think what makes me feel better is appreciating what we have already got in our lives. Acknowledging what we have achieved and rewarding ourselves for the skills and progression we already have under our belt. Also, recognising that a plan with an outline over a long period will make it all much more possible to achieve what we want. Without a plan on where we are going, chances are we won’t ever get there. If we feel bad enough about where we are right now, we can decide to make concrete plans on how to get to where we want to be. It might take 10years but it is a plan that makes us take the initial steps to getting there. Being angry and upset about where we are is not going to help us. We need to take the energy within that anger and sadness and use it to give us the driving force to change. Everything begins with one step. The first step is therefore drawing up a plan.
I think ultimately we need to recognise that it is not a race and that trying to hurry up to achieve it not the way forward. Doing something toward our goals is the only way forward. As long as you work on something for long enough, it will ultimately reward you.

What are your thoughts on success? Do you believe it is a driving force to making endo worse? Does the obsession take over? Are you happy with what you have achieved in your life? I would love to hear your stories and thoughts…..

Hugs, Melissa x
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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Karen

    Hi Melissa,

    First of Id like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful blog! It is truly helpful and inspiring! It’s true that we who live in western countries are almost brainwashed by our society, and many people feel that they are their careers or a nobody without them. Im a very ambitious person and that has drawn me to workplaces that have been too demanding and now im studying one of the most demanding subjects at university. The endo has been a wakeup call since I can no longer put my health aside (which Ive been doing for years). Ive always eaten healthy and exercised regularly yet it’s been this constant drive and feeling of pressure that has stood in the way for genuine health. One needs to define new boundaries, establish a strong sense of faith in the future, in oneself and basically in the entire universe. And it’s a very good that we support eachother 🙂

  2. Melissa

    Hi Lorwai and welcome!
    It is so true! Do what you love and the money will come naturally. It is when you do things for the sake of money that the stress and turmoil's begin!
    People actually admire those that love what they do and are happy doing it more than those that simply have a lot of money 🙂

    Thanks for sharing,


  3. Lorwai TAN PhD

    Unfortunately society judges us by what we do not who we are. The Approval by Achievement Syndrome kicks in and cracks the whip. Yep, back on the treadmill like the hamster that needs to run faster and faster just to stay where they are.

    When we work on the assumption that wealth and personal happiness and satisfaction are mutually exclusive, the internal conflict begins.

    How about a paradigm shift that says who I am (50%) and what I do (50%) make up the sum total of me. After all, we are human beings not human doings.

    Spending quiet time examining our beliefs will identify and uncover these destructive and unhelpful programs that we took on board as gospel, usually when we were young and impressionable.

    Rewriting the scripts of our core beliefs to those that support us in our efforts at doing what we are passionate about and making a quid (and then some) is not as difficult as some people think.


  4. Melissa

    Hi Jessica,

    It is a sooooo true! I know when I have a busy patch in my life, I simply say I will get everything I need when I get more stable in my situation. It is often tricky to even get the basics right – like eating a balanced diet when you are running around all day! We just have to make sure we put ourselves first! The consequences are far worse than the immediate urgency of whatever is going on!

  5. Jessica

    I couldn't have said it better myself! That is so true!

    We always put our health on the back burner when we are too busy or have heaps of stuff going on. I know I do this often when I am busy. I always say, I will worry about it when I am not so busy. How ironic ….. right?

  6. Gwenn

    I make my living selling my art. I am successful: I love what I do and I love that I get to be my own boss doing it.

    That said, my success comes at a price. Being self-employed and living in the US, I don’t have great health insurance. As a consequence, I always used to put off seeking medical help. After four years of pain that I pushed aside, the only thing that finally got me to see a doctor was a cyst rupturing. My endo had to be an emergency before I would address it.

    In my case, living my dream instead of chasing the dollar made me more sick. Catch 22, right? If only we could figure out how to live our dreams AND make lots of money!

    Then again, maybe the solution has nothing to do with my dream or with money. Maybe it has to do with me finally learning to make my health a priority…

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I'm Melissa

Sick of dealing with endometriosis and ready to move forward?

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