Maybe this isn’t the focus of your piece, but I have long thought that this obsession with success — meaning material success, competition with others, “winning” — is a byproduct of the capitalism system.

We don’t really give ourselves an opportunity to genuinely discover what will fulfill us because we don’t have that breathing room. Those who do are ultimately subsidized by someone else’s resources/productive capacity somewhere along the way (spouse, parents, trust fund).

Our system demands immediate productivity upon adulthood and perpetually reinforces the idea that “the right thing” is college and work (and living in suburbs designed around transacting, and having families which keep the machine running long-term)— not to be enlightened and educated but to be trained and used.

But why? The only explanation I can reasonably assume is that capital-holders (modern-day landowners) want to harness the productive, creative, problem-solving capacity of the general population for their own gain.

And how do they convince us to participate? By making it very difficult to not participate. No free healthcare, no free childcare. General unaffordability. Artificial scarcity. Corporate power in government.

Anyway, this has all galvanized more for me as I’ve been out of the workforce for ~3 years.

I’d imagine there’s a way to feel as I do (skeptical/cynical about capitalism) and still participate, be “successful” so to speak, fulfilled, and keep an eye on your points about emphasizing the journey.

Sorry for the long-winded, perhaps rambling logic. But thanks for writing! :)

Writer, thinker, aesthete. Website:

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