by Awilda Rivera
Have you ever wondered what drives you to want to succeed? This piece aims to shed light on that very question.
Why do we care about Success? Wouldn’t it be easier to let life happen to us, giving ourselves permission to just “phone it in” with little investment in the outcome?
The truth is most people want to experience happiness. It would even be fair to say that the happiness Humans desire is that of joy, contentment and a sense of accomplishment. Moreover, it is this deep intangible longing for a sense of achievement of a stated aim that keeps many going on a day to day basis. But why?
Sure, “phoning it in” sounds easy. One would only need to do the bare minimum. However, this style of passive living comes at cost. Agency & Choice are sacrificed in order to relinquish responsibility for navigating the direction of your life.
But what is success anyway and why are we so enchanted by it?
Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. On a very basic level our days are filled with necessary aims: feed the dogs, do the laundry, get to work on time, finish the project, be kind, get to the gym, etc. However, there is another kind of aim, one that captures your dreams and aspirations such as: getting that promotion, buying a house, starting a business, launching a new product, moving to another country, furthering your education, finding love, cultivating a peaceful spirit, changing careers, etc. We will refer to these as Goals.
Goals are the big ticket items that people day dream about and long for; they are the aims that if accomplished would absolutely create tangible joy and contentment. These are the things that if achieved will bring a modicum of genuine happiness.
Since people are ultimately concerned with happiness, it is easy to see how focusing on being “successful” with out achieving the success you seek can be disheartening. Yet, even in the face of adversity most continue to work towards that success. Why?
Success feels Good
First of all it feels good to succeed. Dopamine is neurotransmitter that is released in the brain when we ‘win’. This chemical floods the brain with ‘feel good’ the moment we perceive ourselves to be victorious over an opponent, challenging task, or obstacle. Some experts suggest that creating smaller incremental wins can have the effect of rewiring your brain for success.  The theory suggests that by increasing the frequency with which you perceive yourself to be winning, there will be a more constant flow of dopamine in the brain which will in turn make it easier for the brain to produce higher levels of dopamine. New discoveries have shown that a consistent flow of dopamine, will also make it is easier for you to take action in the first place.  In other words, we have chemicals in our brain that respond not only to our actual achievement of a goal but that can also help us to take the action necessary to achieve it. The more we succeed the better it feels.
Success happens incrementally & it makes you stronger
Success is cumulative. Each time we complete a minor task associated with our overall goal we are able to move the needle forward. The accomplishment of that minor goal is a success. In alternative we will only perceive ourselves to have Successfully achieved the goal when we have completed all the necessary minor tasks. In this way the minor task and goal are inextricably linked. We need the minor successes in order to realize the major success.
Anyone who has endeavored to do anything can tell you that the pursuit of Success is full of ups and downs. Obstacles and Challenges are simply par for the course, and THANK GOODNESS for them. Each time we overcome the challenges associated accomplishing a task that is necessary for our achieving our goals, we become a little bit more resilient. Demonstrating that resilience helps to boost confidence.
Ultimately, humans like to succeed because not only does it feel good but it also helps you to be more successful. Additionally, when we proactively create opportunities for minor successes on the road to achievement, we are able to accomplish our Goals much quicker . Your level of resilience increases, with each task completed and obstacle overcome. As a result, you inevitably feel more confident. When you feel a confident sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness are a delightful by product.
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**All blogs written by Awilda Rivera, unless otherwise indicated therein.