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Tuesday, November 3, 2015


"Like me, you’ve probably heard it almost everywhere – the news, the Internet, your extended family, folks you’re no longer friends with: “If you aren’t successful, it’s because you were not working hard enough.”
This phrase has many incarnations: “If you work hard enough you can do anything,” “People who are poor just don’t try hard enough,” or the infamous “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
These phrases ignore the fact that some of the most hardworking people are living below the poverty line."


Why Success Narratives Are Bullsh*t
and You Can Stop Blaming Yourself
for Your Financial Problems

Everyday Feminism

I really hadn't thought of reading success narratives as self damaging. I mean, I already understood that some people look down on others for not being as successful as they themselves are when they either

1) started out with absolutely everything they needed to get where there are and

2) their success is extremely luck based.  I don't care how hard you work as an actor. I don't care how talented you are. There are people who worked harder and had more talent who never passed the  **being a waiter or waitress between auditions**  stage of their career.

I already knew that some financially successful people really wouldn't feel like life was worth living unless they had somebody to feel superior to. And I found it kind of amazing, coming out of my childhood home, to find out that some people actually consider going to college itself as part of "working hard" instead of paying your dues so you never, ever have to work hard. 

In fact, that was the goal when I went to college:  My parents wanted me to go to college so that I would eventually get a job where I would be using my head instead of my back, where I would never, ever be "working hard."

This is the mental, emotional, and compassionate advantage of being raised by people who know what poverty and therefore what "hard work" actually is.

But I hadn't thought of how reading some types of "success narratives," the types that imply that you aren't rich because you aren't working smart enough or hard enough was a way of putting yourself down. It's not that you can't and shouldn't learn things from people that have gone ahead of you.  But I've met people who are too deep into reading success stories about people who aren't even close to being on the same path and are of the "Look how great I am" format.

This really is something to think about for yourself or for your kids, if ya got em. 

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