Are you climbing the proverbial corporate ladder of success? Where does this ladder lead? Do you have goals? Of course you do; you are human.
But is it healthy to have goals? A philosopher might answer by saying, "Goals matter less than the steps taken toward them; if you are always on your way to something else, you may never be where you are now; and thus you are always Becoming and never Being."
The philosophical aspects of Becoming and Being, probably first illustrated 2500 years ago in Plato's Allegory of the Cave, have generally been depicted throughout the history of philosophy, both western and eastern, as opposites: Becoming can be described as the human tendency toward perpetual discontent--always seeking but never really finding happiness via physical world pleasures. Being can be described as a state of contentment--finding inner peace and well-being without looking for it elsewhere. In summary, Becoming leads away from the authentic self, Being is the authentic self--Becoming is always somewhere else; Being is here now.
"How you are seen by others becomes the mirror that tells you what you are like and who you are. You need others to give you a sense of self, and if you live in a culture that to a large extent equates self-worth with how much and what you have, if you cannot look through this collective delusion, you will be condemned to chasing after things for the rest of your life in the vain hope of finding your worth and completion of your sense of self there." ~ Eckhart Tolle
A modern-day example of Becoming is the idea of climbing the corporate ladder, which is largely motivated by the illusion that money, material wealth and social status are the sources of happiness; and moving higher and higher in prestige will also bring greater sums and money and thus more material wealth, and thus more happiness.
Ultimately, we all want to find meaning and purpose; we want to be self-actualized. The challenge and illusion, however, is that most of our learning is centered around the idea that actualization comes from money, material wealth and social status. We are barraged daily by images of people being happy with what their money has bought them--the new house, the new car, the new clothes.
We are taught, to get the money, the career must be lucrative. Our educational systems and social conventions implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) guide young people toward careers that are financially redeeming with little or no thought of what is self-redeeming.
"That which is grows, while that which is not becomes." ~ Galen (AD 129-199)
Perhaps the natural course of life is to learn by process of elimination; by finding what is true by first living what is false. My concern for others, however, is that they never find the truth--they never find themselves--because they are always on their way to something else--they are always Becoming and never Being. Perhaps remaining in this illusion is the secret to a happy life but I humbly submit to you that the illusion becomes increasingly difficult to maintain.
There is nothing wrong with goals; there is nothing wrong with climbing the corporate ladder or any other pursuit to make monetary, material and social "improvements" to your life. Where problems are introduced and compounded, however, is when you cannot find happiness with where you are now--to find real pleasure in small things--to be aware, to be awake and to be alive.
If you are climbing a ladder to somewhere else, it is not likely you will find yourself there.