Success vs Wholeness

From the time we are really young we are asked “WHAT to you want to be when you grow up?” in some way shape or form. They are of course referring to what we would like to do for a profession. In so many ways and repeatedly, we are asked that question. And the institutions we are placed in (school and sometimes home) are designed to facilitate taking us on the path to a career.

This is to lead us down a path toward survival into adulthood, and ultimately what we define as “Success” in a job. As a society we define success as attaining a level of financial security high enough to be considered wealthy, or at least “well off” (different people draw the line in different places), AND have a job that is satisfying, fulfilling, even potentially life defining; this is what we call a career.

It is believed that “Success” is the path to happiness, to purpose.

Unfortunately for so most of us, that is not true.

There are those that feel that nothing gives them greater joy and purpose than to do their job and excel at it. Work hard, climb the ladder, put in the time, 60-80 hours a week, potentially make a difference. For those that can feel their life has meaning purely by this until the end of their days, God bless them. This post is not necessarily for them.

BUT, too often as people move into adulthood they realize “Success” is not enough to satisfy. Not enough to give their lives meaning/purpose. They long to have relationships, connections; to have a family. Also, their mental and/or physical health may be waning as as result of their professional drive. Unfortunately too many of us realize this too late in life. Long after we have invested enormous amounts of time and money into our success, we wake up and realize that we are empty inside and that the time invested behind us is greater than time to make it up ahead of us. This is truly a sad state of affairs.

This is because in general, “success” is NOT the path to happiness. “Wholeness” is. Some call it work/life balance (I just call it life balance).

But whatever you call it, the question we should be imposing on our youth is “WHO do you want to be when you grow up?”, not “WHAT”. Or more exactly “What kind of person do you want to be?”. This is a more wholistic approach as it encompasses our entire life. Our health, social life, AND professional life. It also addresses our greater responsibility to humanity. With this approach we can tailor our education and influences from the standpoint of making better people instead of better “worker bees”. We are supposed to be improving humanity, not feeding capitalism.

Long term sustainable happiness only comes with these three things:

Good Health


Strong Connections (relationships)


Their “success” is a trap.

This philosophy of Wholeness is really just Minimalism viewed from another perspective.