Many of us assume, that "to survive in this dog-eat-dog world," we must endure "short-term pain for long-term gain." With such an adversarial, competitive mindset, short-term pain necessarily includes neglecting, and too often eventually forgetting about, our own, our family's & others' physical, mental & emotional / spiritual welfare. Albert Einstein said: “Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems, in my opinion, to characterize our age.” We tend to become increasingly fixated on, & progressively more efficient in, speeding down the wrong, narrow path.
This "momentum of our life" just keeps ramping up, until slowed down or stopped by physical or psychological health crises, disillusionment, burnout or even suicide.
We become so identified with & locked into (ie unconscious about) the "momentum of our life," that attempts to bring healthy balance into our work life will be misinterpreted as attempts to sabotage our success & happiness, or at the very least, as serious handicaps.
It's only when, despite our best efforts, our fast train to success starts slowing down, goes off the rails, or crashes - or for some of us, reaches the destination yet leaves us bitterly disappointed, that we start the process of opening our heart-mind to our own, our family's & others' physical, mental & emotional / spiritual* welfare.
There are many different reasons why - "no matter the cost" to ourselves, others or the environment - we're driven to narrowly focus on & chase after security, respect, wealth, fame, status, glory etc. It's a primal survival strategy, which we are best to accept & embrace according to the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model, and equally important, skillfully integrate into our innately wise, loving, more evolved "part."
* "Spiritual intelligence implies a capacity for a deep understanding of existential questions and insight into multiple levels of consciousness."
Vaughan F. "What is Spiritual Intelligence?" Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 2002; 42(2): 16-33.