Don’t Aim At Success

It  was time to clean out the bookcase in my writing nook I was told, and after many stops and starts, I began moving the books, papers, and artifacts that badly needed dusting and arranging in some semblance of order. Underneath a very untidy stack of old art books were the journals of quotes I collected on sabbatical. Those of you who followed the Pew long ago may remember my collection of quotes while I was “away.” It was fun to go over what was important to write down during a difficult period in my life.

Don’t aim at success — the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. …. it only (ensues) as the unidentified side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. — Victor Frankel, Man’s Search For Meaning.

Frankel’s classic is one of the five books I recommend a person take with them if they are going to be incarcerated for any length of time. The above quote is especially appropriate. But why should someone be concerned about success when everything they have obtained has been taken away, especially pride and self-esteem? The answer is that in a period of utter desolation and isolation we have the opportunity to choose a different path of spiritual fulfillment. This applies whether you are about to enter prison or our “prison” is at home or work.

Frankel wrote, “In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his suffering in the honorable way through love, he can obtain fulfillment.”

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.


  1. YES! It is not really a bona fide Christian doctrine in the “there it is in the Bible” sense and therefore it cannot be precisely captured in the books chronicling Jesus life, but I have always put “love conquers all” at the top of my personal beliefs. I think if Jesus had foreseen our day and times, He definitely would have embraced it as how we have to believe and live to prosper, make the world better and endure whatever challenges we face.
    Thanks for the recollectyions/reflections”!

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