I've been working on a paper on success and I've put a line that I feel very strongly about, "Sometimes when we fail to accomplish our desires for the day they manifest into thoughts during the night. Furthermore , they continually antagonize virtue, since doubt had no other direction to point to."


This is an idea that came to me after I moved. I used to have a decent schedule, go to the gym, hangout with friends, and at night I would fall asleep quickly. Now I've noticed me missing a few important opportunities and I've found myself imagining them being accomplished, as well as further achievements.


Though the paper is expected to be biased, and personal, the overall feel is very weak and hardly argued. Are there any philosophies concerning the idea that we tend to visualize success more when we are unsatisfied with life?

  • This would be you in "unity" or one , i.e. flowing well, decent schedule: Title: Flow : the psychology of optimal experience Author: Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Publisher:Harper & Row,Pub date:c1990.
    – Gordon
    Mar 19, 2018 at 18:17
  • You as the"many" are in a problem-solving phase. You are temporarily out of sorts. Here you want to use "all of you" (the many) in order to transcend some present, finite problem and restore unity, the one, or "flow". The many phase is close to Heidegger's Present to Hand, planning, organizing; flow is closer to his "ready to hand". The famous hammering example etc.
    – Gordon
    Mar 19, 2018 at 18:22
  • 1
    This seems to be concerned with psychology more than it is with philosophy!
    – Bach
    Mar 19, 2018 at 18:39
  • @Bach yes, that's true. I tried to pull it back into philosophy a little bit. The book on "Flow" by this man is excellent. I really enjoyed it. But his last name could be a little shorter! en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mihaly_Csikszentmihalyi
    – Gordon
    Mar 19, 2018 at 19:03

1 Answer 1


So, is the problem in not achieving the goal, or in setting goals that aren't achieved? Is a feeling of restlessness, or that something is problematic, leading to a certain choice of goals, that would really be unsatisfying fulfilled or unfulfilled? Perhaps this is the subconscious trying to communicate to the wider psyche, through generating an experience of unfulfillment, restlessness figurative and literal, which is space for new ideas, experiences.

Many philosophers talk about adjusting expectations and mindset to be conducive to happiness, at least since the stoics. Modern framings like 'Growth Mindset' suggest how we shape ideas about ourselves is as crucial to how we will feel as the experiences.

The Buddha said one of the 'early fruits' of Buddhist practice was good sleep, this being through virtue & discipline. Buddhism draws attention to something which can unite the psyches search for wholeness, and the search for good rest. What does it mean to be awake? https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-buddhist-sleep-lesson-a_b_428653

  • setting goals that aren't achieved. Like applying for a raise, though it was never attempted. This leads to someone staying up at night imagining the possibilities that raise could of created. The mention of Stoic philosophy and Buddhism are very applicable. Mar 19, 2018 at 20:26
  • why no attempt? seems like it's all about mindset, what you are thinking about. not achievements.
    – CriglCragl
    Mar 19, 2018 at 20:45
  • The main idea the essay surrounds is how we tend to prefer equilibrium in our lives. This question is concerning the dichotomy of hope, and how we can't tolerate even the smallest disturbances. It is mindset, but more-so the emotions connected to it. Psychology answers this very directly, while I wanted to make more of an introspective revelation that concerns the overall nature of the augmentations in hope or deprivations of virtue Mar 19, 2018 at 20:49
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    A liking for equilibrium or not is temperament. Some, a majority, even a large majority may prefer it, but not all. Hope is a projection, a living in other times, a not-being-present.. It is interpretation, rather than experience. If it's founded on a healthy mindset, accurate observations, fine. If not, it may be destined to be dashed. Virtue, as I see it, is about qualities in actions themselves, rather than for rewards - that places it in the moment-by-moment, rather than constructed future
    – CriglCragl
    Mar 19, 2018 at 22:37

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