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Are You Looking For Success Or Value?


The game of comparisons to which social media pushes us makes it difficult to see clearly, starting with the reflection around the notion of values. This competitive spirit that is developed from a very young age, whether through games, school or sports, makes us forget that life is not just a race, I would even dare to say that life is not a race.

This global momentum in which we participate and which we have not always consciously chosen is organized in some way against our interests. If we assume that everyone aspires to happiness and that it comes from a form of serenity or full satisfaction, then what is the point of participating in a zero-sum game? Let me explain, the dominant view is one where there are winners and losers, where gains are compensated by losses and vice versa. In such a philosophy, there can only be a part of the participants who can access happiness. This generalized game is called the race for success, which in the end makes our satisfaction depend only on extrinsic elements and by definition they escape us. Thus, by deciding to participate in it, we expose ourselves to disappointment even though our efforts would be there.

Of course, life can be a competition, but does it have to be our whole life? There can be benefits in comparing ourselves, it can push us to surpass ourselves and to learn from the example of others. The problem is that today competition has become an obsession and has replaced the search for virtue that we can more generally call value. This is obviously not a new phenomenon; the philosophers of the ancient world deplored it just as much.

What we can be sure of is that the search for value brings more satisfaction and even happiness in that it repositions the attention on ourselves and not on others. Success can be the outcome of the search for value, but the search for value does not always guarantee it. Conversely, the pursuit of success for the sake of success almost certainly takes us away from the virtue of the simple fact that to please or win we are often encouraged to take shortcuts and eventually become corrupt.

Of course, success is more glorious simply because it usually translates into material success. It is much easier to show success than it is to show value, which is why in this world of comparisons we are more inclined to look for success. Value only comes to light in times of crisis, danger, and may even take the form of panache or even glory. The rest of the time, value is calm and silent since it is self-sufficient.

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