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  • Matthew Frank
    Matthew Frank

    Success Dumping: When Has Success become Too Much?

    Success is a term that gets tossed around often. It connotes different visions in different minds- some may see it as material wealth, while others see it as personal satisfaction and the feeling of accomplishment. Dreams are pursued, goals are set, and expectations challenged until at last success is attained and recognized. But when is it too much? When does “success dumping” become an issue?

    Much of the issue comes from society’s change of attitude- competition for recognition, for financial stability, for rank, for respect. It has evolved in the workforce, molding employees working towards the same job titles, targets, and deadlines; it has intrapersonal implications, in relationships and families that want to measure worth in the number of commendations and the amount of wealth brought in; it even has become embedded in small acts- from how many likes you get on social media or what grade you get on an exam. It follows us, and it becomes overwhelming at times.

    The pressurizing effects have been both noted and analyzed but are still hard to cope with. People feel that they have to work harder, get ahead of the competition, who may already have a lead- and extrapolate themselves against their peers, where the feeling of adequateness and validness comes only in terms of ranking, hitting targets, or meeting high standards. This leaves no time- nor energy- to breathe and reflect, and to enjoy the fruits of hard labor.

    Essentially, success dumping means having so much responsibility and pressure that it overwhelms the individual and creates a sense of overworking and restlessness, rather than contentment and satisfaction. It has physical manifestations, such as fatigue and sleep disturbances, mental impacts like memory problems and lack of focus, and other stress-related conditions like increased heart rate and hypertension, to name a few. It can impact one's work performance, affect their relationships with other people, and create psychological and emotional dilemmas. Self-care, relaxation, and healthy habits take a back seat, replaced by the need to do more and do better; the overly ambitious individual may even forget the reason they pursued success and good results in the first place.

    Therefore, recognizing the initial intention- and identity- in the pursuit of success is integral in preventing success dumping and its potential long-term consequences. Time needs to be taken to provide balance- emotionally, socially, and physically- by disengaging from obligations or commitments that become burdensome and difficult to meet, or too demanding of one's energy and attention. This will allow people to take a step back, reprioritize, consider potential solutions and perspectives, and ultimately redirect efforts and actions in a more constructive and rewarding manner.

    Success is an important sense of achievements. It should feel fulfilling, not exhausting. Its accumulation should be a process of strategy, diligence, consistency and anticipation of result- not a transfer of obligation and calculation of worth. Everyone deserves to be able to enjoy the rewards of their successes; it should come from self-respect and a sense of accomplishment, not from existential anxiety and endless exhaustion.

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