Understandings of Success essay

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Malcolm Gladwell believes that the saying, “it’s the brightest who succeed” is a myth. Gladwell believes that those who succeed do so, because they seem to be getting more time than the others. He gives examples with bright students who always get the “teachers’ attention”. He highlights that the wealthy people are made to appear more successful by the people around them who were wealthy. He gives an example of the Canadian hockey team where the biggest and the most focused boy gets more practice  and playing time hence becomes better than his smaller in mass and younger counterparts. He gives an argument suggesting that if Bill Gates did not come from a well-off family, he could not have achieved what he has now. Talking of cultural influence, he says that students who got better results in mathematics did so due to their culture where the failures believed they could not do better. Gladwell says that if we want to build a better world, “we need to replace the patch work of breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determines success—the fortunate birth dates and the accidents of history – with a society that gives an opportunity for all” (Gladwell 2009). Gladwell gives another example about the accident of ages where he says that people born in the same period of time seemed to have something in common. He says that those born in the mid 1950’s shared a common interest in computer technology while those born in the mid 1930’s generally became lawyers.

Some of Gladwell's myths are wrong. We know of people who did not have a bright future when they were young. Some underwent a lot of hardships to achieve what they did. They worked hard. Success came to them as a result of hard work. The most successful people used the “sixth sense” which most people did not use. Taking an example of Thomas Edison, most people believe that he is the one who invented the light bulb. Edison did not invent the light bulb. According to some sources, Joseph Swan Starr was the light bulb inventor. Edison went ahead and modified the invented light bulb. He became successful to a point that people declared him the inventor which provoked Joseph Swan to sue Edison. Gladwell suggests that, in early times, the African-Americans were poor in academics. This is a wrong concept. Taking Ben Carson as an example, we see that he was from a poor family raised by a single mother. In his book “Think Big”, Carson says that “his mother forced him to reduce the hours he was watching television and increase the hours to read”. His mother told him to “read a book every week and summarize it to her by the end of the week”. This made Carson move from the bottom of the class to the top of the class (Colvin 66). He is a known and respected neurosurgeon in the world. Carson succeeded as a result of hardwork but not having the best school and facilities. If Carson had the best facilities but failed to work hard, he would not have made it. Success is a result of one’s hardwork and determination, better facilities and more attention from others enhance more success.

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