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Depending on how we are going in life or even what age we are at … we often attribute the success of others to a range of factors.
I recently read the following …
The Rich attribute success to Abilities and Hard Work
The Middle Class attribute success to Education and Luck
The Poor attribute success to Cheating and Connections
I cannot cite any hard evidence to support these ideas but my own experience thus-far, tells me it might have a degree of truth to it.
If you are successful - in something or other - the struggling will often tend to explain your success to themselves in a way that makes them feel okay about their own situation. It is common practise for the struggler to accuse the successful of ‘selling out’, ‘cheating’, ‘operating on impure motives’, etc.
As a successful person, on the other hand, it is seductively easy to attribute your success solely to hard work, intelligence and abilities; whereas, perhaps your circumstances were just conducive to success; perhaps you had a lot of help; perhaps you had a great support system or maybe you had a really good head-start.
I know a number of successful people who came out of difficult environments; I also know aa few strugglers who have emerged from privileged environments … it’s not always plain and simple.
The truth - where it is so often unearthed - could for many of us, likely reside somewhere in the middle. The bottom line is this - we can rarely fully know what others people’s motivations, drives and mental processes are … and perhaps we shouldn’t care that much even if we did. What ultimately matters, is what we do, how we think, how we act upon and react to, the world we live in.
If we develop a solid work ethic - spend some of our time educating ourselves - learn to live within our means - we can often rise above circumstance and do well in the world. If were have great mentors, a great head-start or even a helping hand, then we can rise even further. It is not a contest - at least in my view; and comparing ourselves with others can leave us feeling bad about ourselves, bad about those we compare ourselves to; and at worst, living in a state of envy and bitterness.
Imagine you are an animal - you might well learn from the lion, the kangaroo, the butterfly and the ant alike; as each has their own strengths, weaknesses and challenges - a bee has no business comparing itself to a horse - the horse can run, the bee can fly - what actually matters is how each lives in the world. Live well … you have less control than you think …. you have more control than you think. - JBW