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By Benjamin P Hardy – Ladders

Most people, if they are honest with themselves, want “success” because of some form of status it will give them.

“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” — Marilyn Strathern

There is a law in statistics known as Goodhart’s law, named after the economist Charles Goodhart, which proposes that people often focus on the wrong target, mistakenly believing it was the right metric.

As an example, a manager of a call center may make the target the number of calls made, believing that the number of calls made will translate to sales.

The people who make the most calls then are the ones awarded, even though a sheer number of calls may or may not translate to the real goal: which may be pleasing the customer or number of sales.

This is rewarding A while trying to get B.

Why does this matter?

According to Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, the reason most people don’t succeed long-term is that they are more interested in status than growth.

Be honest with yourself.

Why do you really want what you want?

Why do you put in all of the hours?

Most people, if they are honest with themselves, want “success” because of some form of status it will give them.

They won’t admit this to you, but deep down, the status is what matters.

It is for this reason that success is generally short-lived for most people. Once they achieve a certain degree of status, their motivation for doing the work goes away.

When your focus is on status, your job becomes to create and maintain that status. This is particularly common in today’s social media world where everyone is attempting to be famous for one thing or another.

Growth often comes at the expense of status.

In order to keep growing, you’ll need to risk the status and success of your past for something new and better. Of course, you’re not afraid of status. But that status is uninteresting and unimportant to you.

The reason most writers will never succeed is that ultimately, what they really want is status. Yet, deep down, they also feel this strange belief that they need to be “pure” to their art, so they don’t want to do it for money.

People who go on to become successful at something are not afraid of success. They aren’t afraid of making money. But money inherently isn’t interesting to them. They are fascinated by growth and pushing their own boundaries. They can never actually quantify “success” because, for them, that very idea is continuously changing.

They’ve never arrived, and they never intend to arrive.

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