Success, work, dictionary

My school sent students a message today:

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

That insight is, at best, wildly and optimistically simplistic.

It’s also telling students that if they experience sudden success they shouldn’t embrace it.

Sadly, it ignores the benefits certain people realize through the genetic lottery.

Disappointingly, it’s ignorant of the culture.

It negates the value of an outsider to make significant impact (a.k.a. outsider view, fresh eyes, devil’s advocate) in an otherwise closed loop.

Ultimately, it sets people up for disappointment when they work hard and well yet do not realize the success they envisioned.

However, it will spawn another generation of self-help and leadership pablum that will suck the money, energy, and hope of another generation of people looking to succeed.

And thus some people will succeed without any work effort or talent or ability or skill.

Also, how does one and who measures success? Is it an athletic director?

UPDATE: My reply to the college

I’m not sure what Joan Cronan’s story is, but I assume it cannot be condensed to a single quote.

Regardless, I have seen many people work hard and well yet not succeed due to race or gender or sexual orientation or finances or circumstance or any number of reasons one can disqualify another independent of ability.
I’ve seen people find remarkable success without much effort.
I’ve seen people born into remarkable success with no effort.
I’ve seen people lie, cheat, steal, connive, and bluster their way to success, sometimes with effort and work but more often with race and gender and finances on their side.
Hard work — and for the sake of the argument let’s assume the hard work is also good work — is not an automatic ticket to success.
This entry was posted in culture, education, I84D and tagged by Paul. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul

I’m a Detroit expat recently returned from Tokyo living in Chattanooga. I’m a consulting security professional and father of two. I promise that my views and politics are mine; not yours or my employer’s or anyone’s. I follow no party or affiliation or anything. My things are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license unless otherwise stated.

Be nice with what you write.