Attainment is the idea that there is something to do or obtain in life to be happy. This is where the idea comes for the the phrase "making it" in life. But there is nothing to make in life. Larger joys and meanings derive from and are built on simpler satisfactions. Simple satisfactions are readily available to all people with reasonable freedom.

Attainment is partly about doing something when one cannot just be, and partly about being special to avoid the pain of feeling unloved. Often the strain of attaining something makes it impossible to take in already available satisfactions. The desire to 'attain and obtain' causes constant pressure to act contrary to one's feelings and beliefs, and connection to feeling is often lost. Attainment and endgaining go together, making everything a means to an end, with no experience of arrival or peace.

Creativity is a different concept than attainment. While creativity is shaped by effort and the ego, it arises out of feeling. Unlike attainment, creativity does not have a feeling of drivenness. It comes from inside the person, but not constantly and it is not necessary. Unlike attainment, creativity has no need to compromise with what is available. Creativity, like pleasure, can only really be had if it is not the goal of the endeavor.

Part of creativity and enjoyment is mastery. Mastery is a feeling of coordination, ease and grace when dealing with a challenge. Body and mind are working together. Mastery is an internal feeling whereas attainment is a benchmark or comparison with others. It is possible to learn to get many things done without a feeling of mastery or ease, and while this may have a role in life, it does not contribute to satisfaction. The idea of attainment and endgaining often drives people to a style of 'just getting things done," and therefore never employ the time or mindfulness to develop mastery.

Attainment, at bottom, is usually about seeking approval. The need for approval comes from lack of basic security. Basic security is the feeling that we can do no real wrong, and there is no chance that we will be cast out. Unfortunately, most people do not emerge from early experience with that feeling. Attainment is an effort to gain basic security, but it does not work. It is no wonder that many people approach psychotherapy with the idea of attaining something. Disillusionment is inevitable even if the therapy is sound. Basic security does not come from any accomplishment however. It comes from contact, grounding, satisfaction, self-expression, and other, 'in-the-present" phenomena.

A child develops security by growing in an environment in which the caretakers make sure failure is rare. But the pervasiveness of 'attaining mind' has lead (despite superficial rhetoric about equality) to a very socially (let alone economically) competitive society, from which even children are not exempt. Because of this there are very few endeavors in which it is impossible to fail. The only way to be sure not to fail is to not attempt anything, and while this strategy is common, it is considered a global failure in itself.