Reaching the top of the tree in one’s chosen occupation or profession is the usual standard by which success in life is measured, at least in the Western world. However many Asians would reject this criterion. The contemplative religions assert that success is only measurable in terms of religious advancement and of the acquisition of the virtues. Thus, success would be in inverse ratio to material advancement.
Most of the world accepts the definition of material advancement, its objectives being affluence and perhaps power over others, both being the most important means of self-expression.
Some are born into positions which already confer affluence and power, so success to them might lie merely in the preservation of the family business or estate and perhaps its enhancement for the benefit of the next generation. Most people have to work hard to to achieve success.
The western concept of success is not always satisfying and some people, at the height of their affluence and power, reject it in favor of the simple life. This happens for a variety of reasons.
Beyond a certain point the acquisition of money proves unsatisfactory. The difference between the lifestyle available to a millionaire and that available to a billionaire is marginal. Unhappily money making can become an obsession, and some very wealthy people become very mean. Money also creates anxiety since it usually has to be put at risk if more is to be made. Other anxieties may be created when a large number of people become dependent on a financial empire. Money confers power which may corrupt. It is often made at the disadvantage of others, and it may damage a business man’s relationships both with his peers and with his subordinates. These pressures and anxieties often have a detrimental effect on health and on family life. One’s wife and children are inevitably neglected and unhappy. The children of successful capitalists or career workaholics sometimes reject everything the father or.