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Self-Made Success?

According to Dr William Mayo ‘No one is big enough to be independent of others.’ Many would say in western cultures that the highest honour is to describe a person's success as self -made.

This attitude does not give recognition to all those who have helped create success stories. It can feed into an attitude of individualism that does not take into account every genius, solo entrepreneur and original thinker who has depended on some emotional, educational, financial or spiritual support for success.

Children are taught from a very early age to take great pride in being able to do things by themselves. These occasions are rightfully applauded, for example our first steps, riding a bicycle and so forth. Being self-sufficient is often a vital characteristic for success. It encourages self-discipline and personal resilience. It also helps us to take responsibility for our lives.

But too much self sufficiency can be a block to success. Those who get caught in this belief find it very difficult to ask for help. They become blind to opportunities for support. I put it to you that success requires both self-determination and letting yourself be supported and inspired by others.

In an individualistic society everyone strives for attention and significance. To be original in one's work or in one's social media requires that one sets themselves apart and stands out from the crowd, they are then ‘successful’. Sometimes originality can become confused with superiority as individualist cultures tend to manufacture and sell ‘originality.’

If one takes the approach that we are all unique therefore we are all original, why do we allow our society and social media to decide which of us is more unique than the other? People trying to be original for the sake of originality often leads to alienation, insecurity and having no real sense of self.

Let's look at broadening our understanding of a self-made success story. I would suggest to you to consider that success is about being original and being collaborative. Success is about connecting with others and finding your team. Even the most original thinkers need to have backing and support for their vision and ideas. Originality without collaboration can only go so far, the call to recognise interdependence on others begins to sound.

Wanting to achieve our personal best at something is a noble goal. This is how we discover potential and grow talent. Being mindful of an unhealthy superiority which is often a major block to achieving our personal best is important. There are many stories of successful people who found themselves at certain times setting aside their ego for something greater if they were to succeed. To be one's best is to be willing to work with other people's strengths and greatness.

As Einstein says, “A 100 times everyday I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received myself and I'm still receiving.” (The World As I See It. )

And so my friend, if you have a wonderful idea and you would like to create a ‘self -made’ success story…….just reach out to others.

Take Care,


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