Advice / all

Illustration by Nevaeh Jashae Foster

How An Unhealthy Desire To Succeed May Hinder You

by share

When I first entered the world of desires, there was lots of talk about something called “success” that tied me down. Social media undesirably helped me view success through the lens of celebrities and influencers. You know what that looks like- penthouses, Gucci bags, work from home, and those who wake up at 4 am to make themselves avocado toast before the gym. There is nothing wrong with the satisfaction of someone else’s implementation but don’t allow it to lead to unhealthy resentment. Social media is not reality and rarely does anyone have it all figured out in every part of life. The gag is that success is subjective and it changes every day. I mean, in the 19th century marrying multiple women and owning hundreds of goats was promising. No one ever told us success is not all-encompassing nor emphasized how viewing someone else’s accomplishments as our expectations could hinder our purpose. What does success look like to you? 

Shift Your Focus

A strong desire for success can lead to a stronger fear of failure. Many people lose sleep with the thought of not meeting the expectations of the life they want to live in the future. Instead, why don’t we focus on achieving in the now? To live in purpose, on purpose! Overly obsessive thoughts of what you could be or what you could do is killing your creativity. There are ways to feel “successful” in the present moment without having the penthouse and career. Initially, you need to surrender to the process. This means letting go of the results of our actions and taking our mind off of the outcome. I came across a video of late legendary humanitarian basketball player Kobe Bryant’s 2017 jersey retirement. In it he said, “Those times when you stay up late and you work hard; those times when don’t feel like working — you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself — but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And if you guys can understand that, what you’ll see happen is that you won’t accomplish your dreams, your dreams won’t come true, something greater will.” Rest in the fact that you can complete everything you desire on time and precisely without being your perfect expectations.

Acknowledge the day-to-day success

It’s time for you to acknowledge everything you attain on a day-to-day basis. What about the kitchen you cleaned this week? Or the book you picked up after two weeks? Did you thank yourself for buying that candle that made you feel warm after a difficult day? You took care of yourself and that is worthy of self-praise. I have a few family members and friends that make me feel like their love and support for me is on condition – only if I meet a standard. Why keep a family member that only cares to speak to you if you’re getting a degree? Or, a friend who only associates with you if you have over a thousand likes and a similar style? If no one has told you or reminded you lately: I am here to assure you that materialistic and monetary possessions do not define who you are. You were created in divinity, and you don’t need to do anything to validate it!

Fail Forward

In my last article I wrote about Atychiphobia, fear of failure, but I have yet to emphasize the importance of failing; falling forward. Failing forward is embracing inevitable failure as a step closer to future successes. The more risks you take, the more failures you make. Every action that you take can go two ways; how you expected it to go and how it was meant to go in order for you to learn the lesson. John C. Maxwell, the author that presented the idea of failing forward in his book “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success” explains that the average person fears failure so they limit their risks and goals to make themself feel comfortable. In other words, the average person never achieves their dreams because they view failure as a set back and not a stepping stone. If you find yourself hiding behind the screen reading this, you are cuffed to comfort and failure. 

Release Limitations, Expectations, and Recognitions 

Finding yourself posting your achievements with the intent of pleasing someone else is the worst feeling of recognition. If you feel yourself looking for a view or a like, don’t post it. Recognition serves ridicule and this mockery serves the killing of your calling. Stop being motivated by what people think of your life and your work. The best way to live in purpose on purpose is to gain the confidence to obtain your aspirations. I always wanted to write but I spent my days building a case as to why I couldn’t do it while my peers were going for it. One of the first oppositions you will deal with is the disapproval of people who are simply not your audience. You should not try to change your goals or your creations to please an audience that isn’t mean to appeal to you. When you receive ridicule, take it as a sign of constructive criticism but enforce critical thinking in not changing your work but applying  to it. If you intend to be successfully purposeful, do what you want on the time that you want to. 


Here are some thoughts that helped me gain self-reliance and resilience:

  • The faster you can decrease the time between an idea and execution will change your life.
  • Before you can win, you have to believe you are worthy. 
  • Daily task setting leads to long-term goal attaining.
  • Change is uncomfortable, staying the same is suffocating.
  • It is better to regret what you have done instead of what you haven’t.

And last but not least, live in purpose on purpose.

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About Nevaeh Jashae Foster

/VOX ATL Staff Writer

Nevaeh Jashae Foster is a senior in high school eagerly anticipating studying marketing at Howard University Fall 2022. Not only is she a high performing student, but also a n...

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comments (4)

  1. Alka Bhargav

    Your thoughts will encourage others.

  2. Joy Cowley

    Lately, I’ve found myself moving at a slow past, and it seem as those around me were getting goals accomplished faster than me. Because of this I couldn’t see that I was moving slow but steady. I shifted my focus back on me. I started being grateful for my journey and where I was. I could finally see that I was becoming everything I prayed for, even with me not being close to where I am going. Thank you for your encouragement writer Nevaeh.

  3. Barbara Seylar

    Very interesting and informative article

  4. Kim Acreman

    This article made me realize that I always lowered my own expectations of myself. Very articulate and a great read .