What is success? Success, defined by merriam-webster.com, is the "favorable or desired outcome; also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence," but that definition is missing an important portion. There's a certain, unexplainable feeling that comes with succeeding. Whether it's passing the finish line in a race, getting an A on a paper/test, or even just impressing everyone at a talent show. The feeling is different for everyone, whether it's a kind of euphoric feeling of butterflies in your stomach, or just smiling and not being able to express any other emotion than happiness. Everyone, at some point in their lives, has experienced success.
There is something so addicting about success. Last year, in my middle school league, I had won every race in cross-country. It felt so amazing every time I passed that finish line and knew I had won. This year, on the other hand, is a completely different story. All I want is that same sensation like my cross-country races last year, but I can't yet because I am not as fast as the juniors and seniors that I race against. Even though I am catching up to them, there is a profoundly different feeling between succeeding and doing extremely well for your age.
Track and cross-country are not the only two things that give me the feeling of success. My academics absolutely give me the same feeling of success. Whenever I turn over an essay or test and see a 95 with an A next to it, there is that feeling of success. There is also a certain amount of confidence that is needed to get an A on something. If someone gets an A, but isn't confident about their work, they don't feel what success feels like completely, they feel more relief that they didn't do badly.
Even though the feeling of success is great and all, why is it that people strive for success in the long-run? Sure, people want money for whatever material pleasure they want. Sure, people want fame so that they are recognized and looked up to by others who want to be just as famous. Sure, people want to be remembered after they die by their success in life, but people who have lots of money, or are famous, or remembered usually sacrificed something important to them in their past. Whether it's friends, ties with families, or possessions, something is almost always lost. An example is my success in track. The only way to get better at track is to go to practice everyday from 3-5 and go to meets on Thursdays from 3-6:30. This helps me get faster and better so that I can make new personal records, but at the same time I don't walk home with my friends after school and just don't see them after track either.
My academics could be used as another example of how success requires some sort of sacrifice. If I want to do really well on a test, I need to spend more time creating a study guide and actually studying the material. Having a paper be successful requires proofreading it until my eyes bleed and have others, friends or parents, read it and give me notes on it.
If success is so much more difficult than just doing OK, why doesn't everyone just do OK? The reason is because there is some innate, uncontrollable urge to impress others and also to further one's own status among their peers. Even though I gave plenty of personal examples on why people feel the urge to succeed, it still isn't clear because there are those who would just rather fail and not do work so they could do more of what they want to at that moment than succeed at certain tasks. There is one thing I do know for sure though, that is that if everyone strives to do their absolute best, no matter what, in everything they do, things like science, foreign relations, and even governments will move along faster because of their urge to do as well as they can as fast as they can. This world only moves along when everyone pulls their own weight to be the best they can, and that involves succeeding at whatever the task at hand is.