In an interview with The Record (3/13/08, p. 20), rabbi and author Shmuley Boteach warned readers that there’s much more to life than the pursuit of professional success — something that many entrepreneurs are obsessed with.
“The broken American male’s only criteria for success is professional success, how much money he makes, how many things he acquires, how far up the ladder he climbs. He is trained to be a lifelong competitor.”
Aside from being perhaps a tad materialistic, what’s wrong with that, you may ask?
Plenty, says Rabbi Boteach, because there is always someone higher up the ladder than you … and in comparison, you will always feel like a failure.
Our culture, he says, is not a circle where everyone is treated as equal, but a pyramid, where only men like Donald Trump and Bill Gates are at the top.
The broken American male “compares himself to them and he feels like a failure” … because in our society, money and power — not personal commitments — are the locus of our self-esteem.
Certainly, many of the “make money online” promoters play on the consumer’s inferiority complex.
Their online ads brag about their latest million-dollar home or $100,000 sports car — saying, in effect, “Gee, look how great I am; don’t you wish you could be me?”
I have found myself growing tired as of late of all the online bragging and boasting … and wishing these promoters didn’t have to build themselves up at others’ expense.
Do you measure your own self-worth mainly by money and achievement — and if so, do you ever beat yourself up for falling short?
Or do you enjoy a balanced sense of self, in which the kind of person you are is just as important as what you own or how much you make?