There is a difference between setting your targets right and defining your goals. To understand it we need to understand how things connect.
We quantify success because it is easy to measure. It is easy to measure because the milestones we set are extrinsic reward related and, usually, tangible. We use success and tangible milestones as a measure of "getting somewhere" because the qualities that truly matter to us happiness, a sense of purpose, certainty in our self, are much harder to quantify, harder to articulate and harder to set as a universal measure.
The chain of events that leads us to the mess we find ourselves in goes like this: We conflate the immaterial with the material. We then use that conflation to focus externally when we should be focusing internally. As a result we set the wrong targets. Then our goals are not what they should be but because we still need to do something and 'measure' something, we persist. We set the wrong targets because we are not sure of who we are and how we should live. Paradoxically, the further we move away from our true targets the more we double down on our goals and the harder it becomes to find ourselves. There is inherent cognitive dissonance in our approach that deflates our focus and makes it hard to succeed even when we try hard on goals that we think we crave.
If you substitute "success" with "happiness" how much different would your decision-making process be? What different choices would you now make?
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