I am going to let you in on a secret.
There is no one who will care as much as you do if you have dessert. I know it is shocking, but I want you to know that dessert is a small victory. Unearned? Probably. But you got what you wanted and in this life for many of us don’t get even that. The small victory is unfortunately for many of us a failure. Sticking with the dessert, we might be on a diet, we might have worked our ass off all week, we might have been proud of ourselves. What happens is our desire to lose weight, generally, and so we put ourselves through a calorie deficit that makes us want to lick the hands of a kid who just finished a surgery stick of cotton candy. At dinner we watch what we eat and then… Oh, a little bowl of ice cream won’t hurt. Truth be told, it probably won’t. But it does give your will power a kick in the nuts and your stomach ammunition for you to give in the next time. The only person it really affects is you.
The dessert is a negative image, but you get the point. You give in and get a negative reward. Now, let us think instead of ice cream, you got a hundred dollars. Would you take the money, or would you hold back. Let’s say you decided to pursue a career at a large corporation. You don’t work hard for that weeks check. No, you work to gain skill in order to move up. The money becomes your reward. The more you push yourself, the more you learn, the more skill you gain, this puts you in position for a bigger and better reward. Hell, you might be able to work yourself to the top. Side note: Yes, getting to do cool work is a kind of reward, but using more work as a reward for work is silly and in some places a con job, it is a way not to fairly compensate a person for the work they do.
Here is the thing. Neither scenario matters to anyone but you. Yeah, your mom might be proud, but she can’t do the work for you. You have to want success bad enough to take action.
Self-restrain and pursuing goals outside our comfort zones, both hurt and help us. Most people restrain themselves when they should push ahead. Then there are those who push ahead and there is no reward in the end. What you must always ask is what do I want most? Mot just right now, but what is best for me now and down the road. No matter what no one will care about your success or life as much as you do.
If you want more out of life, figure out what that more really is. For most people it isn’t what others would call success, but for them it would be a life well lived. The same goes for you.