There Are Far Better Goals in Life Than Success

“Here’s an ideal human being, please copy and paste.”

Auriane Alix
Jul 30 · 4 min read
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

“Doing This Will Make Your Life Better”, “10 Quotes by X That Will Change Your Life”, “How I Quit My Job and Started Living My Dream Life While Earning $4,000 a Month”, “4 Things Successful People Do”…

I could go on and on. The Internet is full of articles on personal development and the road to success. All of them share one goal: to help us live a “successful” life, both personally and professionally.

I have two questions in mind. First: what is a successful life? And why put it at the forefront of our life goals?

Let’s stop advocating a stereotype of life

There is a fundamental problem. We are human beings, which means, among other things, that we are individuals. And being an individual implies the notion of individuality.

We don’t all wear the same shoes. We don’t all wear our hair the same. We have different interests. Some of us like city life very much, while others would not stand it and prefer to live a thousand times by the sea.

If we are all so different from each other, why should we all have the same goal in life?

Let me get straight to the point: I think we build a common stereotype of a successful life to reassure and guide us. Because, at the end of the day, it is extremely complicated to decide how to live one’s life. So we define a common goal to achieve so that we don’t have to think too much for ourselves.

We then give everyone the tools to achieve this goal, through all these articles and books on personal development, but also through common brainwashing that is reinforced by absolutely everything around us, from advertising to culture. End of story.

“Here’s an ideal human being, please copy and paste.”

Little by little, we came to a vision of success that looks like this: being a heterosexual person, married, with two well-educated and well-behaved children, having a slim and toned body, always being well dressed and well-groomed, having a lively social life, but also finding time for culture, reading, sports, spending time with one’s family and, of course, traveling.

We won’t forget to share this perfect life on Instagram. In the meantime, we’ll have an exciting job (really?), a high responsibility position that pays us much more than we need each month (unless we create too many needs). We will own a beautiful house, in a popular city, and we will be happy, happy all the time.

If you’re like me, this shared vision of success doesn’t seem attractive at all. And something tells me that you and I aren’t the only ones who feel that way.

To be a little less caricatural, the shared vision of success is: be happy, be rich, and have a good job. To achieve this, you have to be motivated, strong-minded, ambitious, intelligent, etc.

How many articles advise on finding motivation, establishing morning routines, finding a purpose in life, being more productive, being more interesting in society, making more money in less time?

Many.

Too much.

Success in the common sense of the word is not one of my life goals

I have other priorities besides success. My life goal is above all to become aware of myself and the world around me. To be mindful. To feel alive in the world.

I also try to find out where my happiness lies, through what activities, what lifestyle, what rhythm.

In short, I try to find the real me.

I don’t want to have an important job, all I want to do is write. I’m not interested in having a lot of money, all I want is to have enough to live comfortably. I don’t want to find an incentive to go running every morning at 5 o’clock and then meditate for an hour, all I want is to find a lifestyle that helps my body and mind feel at peace.

Let’s break the common vision of success. Stop conforming to the shared vision of life so you don’t have to think about YOUR ideal vision of life. I know it’s hard to ask deep questions and try to find the answers. But you owe it to yourself.

This life is not a trial. It’s the real one. Don’t spend it working to achieve other people’s goals. Take the time to discover your own, and then take the time to find ways to get closer to them.

To me, that’s what life is all about: finding you and working for you.


The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness and fulfillment.

Sign up for Elevate Weekly

By The Ascent

A weekly tip to live a better, more sustainable life and help humankind live up to its fullest potential. Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Auriane Alix

Written by

50% Self-improvement, 30% writing, 20% work — Get in touch: auriane.alix.medium@gmail.com — Unlock your best life in 5 days → https://bit.ly/388XW0t

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 105,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

Auriane Alix

Written by

50% Self-improvement, 30% writing, 20% work — Get in touch: auriane.alix.medium@gmail.com — Unlock your best life in 5 days → https://bit.ly/388XW0t

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 105,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store