The fact is — modern capitalist society is largely utilitarian. As a result, individual success in such a society is statistical — as perceived by majority of its members. The more members the better. This may translate into the amount of material goods one is assigned to (also known as «has» or «can control»), degree of popularity times the number of followers, rank in the social pyramid times the portion of the pyramid below, and many other similar things — all easily quantifiable. The ladder to [this] success is therefore purely logical and predictable, the results are numerical in nature. Random factors may occasionally apply.
This success creates the culture of average. Just like the money is one-dimensional (it has no smell or taste), so is the success. In spite of the relatively few personal “success” stories in business, politics, pop music, sports and the like — the base for this success, the «consumers» are the very average majority, who sometimes see themselves as joining the successful elite in the future, or at least in their mind. They are blindly contributing their +1 voice without any consideration for the quality or any other attribute that may define the connection.
They make checklists, plan investments and career paths, give up their «now moment» for the bright future. Indeed, most won’t get anywhere near in reality, and in their mind too. Once realized this fact, they re-focus their attention on family and making new generation — replicas of themselves — passing the same principles, virtues and values, hoping the offsprings would be more successful (whatever that means), but the basis remains the same. This task is much easier and within the reach. All you have to do is making enough to sustain the lifestyle of an average family, be proud within close society of four or five plus dog or cat (exceptions may occur) and most importantly — be proud of yourself.
And, among those who make it to the top, there must be few smart ones to realize how marginal their success really is. Showing it publicly, however, is considered [by majority] as a sign of weakness and failure.