Throughout my life, I have had several men and women who supported me along the way and I owe a great deal of any success I have achieved to them. In addition to supportive parents, I had mentors and teachers who believed in me and challenged me. They supported me when I was at my lowest and they kept me humble when I was at my highest. It is comforting to know that I have a network of people who are actively contributing to my success. In truth, they are a part of my success; I share it with them. I never underestimate the value of this support system. For men who don’t have this, it does mean that they can’t be successful through their hard work. But it does mean they are always at a disadvantage and things are going to be a bit tougher for them.
In my life, I can say working hard has certainly been a foundation to my success. But if I am being honest, I have been blessed with the advantage of being exposed to things that others haven’t and of having people who support me that some may not have. Often times I believe that I could have worked a lot harder and sometimes I believe that all my success is not completely attributable to my efforts alone. This, in fact, keeps me humble, knowing if I were not exposed to certain things and if I didn’t have a support system, life would be so much harder.
”You can only model what you have been exposed to and can only get so far without people to support you.Domonic Purviance
With this in mind, it is interesting to still see some people who think that they got everything on their own. They still hold on to the Self-Made Man Myth. They are often arrogant and prideful and they look down on people as if everyone who is not as successful as they are just lazy. Sure enough, some people are lazy. But often enough, people are held back by factors that are not completely in their control.
Some people aren’t exposed to a lot of different options while others have little to no support system at all. You can only model what you have been exposed to and can only get so far without people to support you. Those that are successful ought to be mindful that, no, they did not get their alone. Your exposure and support network had a vital role as well and knowing this should produce humility and gratitude in you. It also produces some compassion and empathy for those who have less privileged than yourself.
Now, with that said, as a man you may not be completely self-made but you are still ultimately responsible for your success and if there is anything you lack, it is up to you to make sure you get it. If you were not privileged to grew up in a household where you were exposed to a broader worldview, then it is up to you to seek out greater exposure. Reading books, attending events, seeking out successful people to learn from, all are ways that you can expand your exposure. If you are not blessed with a support network, then it is up to you to develop one. Seek out people to develop relationship with as mentors and advisors, be willing to listen to their advice and accept their correction.
Believing that you have to live up to the ideal of the Self-Made Man usually leads to a life of frustration and empties. However, if you add greater exposure and a strong support network to your hard work and determination, then you can enhance your probability of a truly successful life.