Behind the Curtain of Success

May 17, 2009
By Temuulen Smith BRONZE, Bellingham, Washington
Temuulen Smith BRONZE, Bellingham, Washington
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

People have the notion that those who come from poverty can strive using only their wits to become wealthy. These self-made men do not become who they are just by themselves. A person who lives in America has a greater likelihood of making it big and becoming successful than a person who lives in Pakistan. They owe something to parentage and where they grow up and live.

Before I read the book Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, I thought that the successful people were the ones that strove harder than others. When I read this sentence from Outliers, “the tallest oak in the forest is the tallest not just because it grew from the hardiest acorn; it is the tallest also because no other trees blocked its sunlight, the soil around it was deep and rich, no rabbit chewed through its bark as a sapling, and no lumberjack cut it down before it matured.” It made me look at the subject differently because there are other factors that are at play.

Let’s look at the sports world’s best athletes. Soccer for example, uses a system of selecting, streaming, and dividing the talented from the untalented. This creates an advantage for the people born closer to the cut-off date. Soccer’s cut-off date is January 1st, in the Czechoslovakian national junior soccer team, 15 out of the 21 players were born in January, February, or March, and the rest of the six were born in the months after March. None of the players were born in December. It doesn’t matter if you’re born a prodigy in soccer but if you’re born in December you won’t get the experience needed to become successful.

Shockingly, studies show that kids raised in poverty have a higher chance of dropping out of high school. The gap between the wealthy and the poor is partly due to the fact that the wealthy have more money. Also, the children of the wealthy have the experience and opportunities needed to become more successful compared with the children of the poor. The rich have the money to get their children into the most prestigious of schools while poor children tend to dropout of school before graduating from high school.

Who do you believe has a greater chance of finding employment, a person in America or a person in Kenya? You probably chose America, you’re right; a person has a greater likelihood of getting a job in America than in Kenya. If you look at the facts, the unemployment rate in America is 8.6% while the unemployment rate in Kenya is around 40%.

I am definitely not a self-made man. I was born in Mongolia and probably would have stayed in Mongolia for the rest of my life if my parents hadn’t met. By them meeting, I moved to America where I have a greater chance of becoming successful than in Mongolia. My success then would not have come from my hard work alone but from some events that would have otherwise been overlooked.

I’m not saying that the successful people in the world get there without lifting a finger but they do have help from parents and chance. All successful people get there from hard work on their part but they get some help as well.

The self-made men people fantasize about are not possible. There are many factors in life that affect your future. The wealthy have an advantage over the poor of getting good jobs and making a life for themselves. When you are born and where you live affect future events in your life. Is it personal determination alone that makes a person successful? I believe that successful people already have most of the road paved for them.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

on May. 29 2009 at 12:46 am
Hallie Messenger BRONZE, Bellingham, Washington
4 articles 0 photos 21 comments
geez, t. this was VERY good. I really like the topic and that quote, it brought a whole new perspective.

Swoon Reads

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!