In terms of success, it seems like the world is divided into 4 general subdivisions of people:
Success has a subjective definition, and is different in the eyes of everyone. Most commonly, it means obtaining our goals and achieving personal happiness. For a few, it may be affluence; for some, their names etched in the history books; and for others, simply a nice home, small family, and stable job.
- The people who “don’t work hard” yet still succeed
For some individuals, it seems as if serendipity and luck always seem to be on their side. For some reason, some higher power granted them with stronger academic abilities, more impressive talents, a more charismatic personality, and societally-defined-better looks than you.
This is “that kid” in high school who never had to study to get perfect grades. She is “that girl” who was everyone’s favorite, always the leading lady in every school play, and always the coach’s first pick onto the field. These are the Paris Hiltons, presented with fame and fortune right as they cut her umbilical cord.
- The people who work hard and succeed
This seems pretty logical, and describes many of the leaders of our modern world. Most CEO’s or political figures who weren’t corrupt with nepotism, many renowned actors who at one point waited tables for twelve hours a day—they all had some stroke of luck that led them to the position they are in, but they also had to work in part to be where they are.
Hardworking people still exist. Through education, persistence, or self-motivation, rags to riches stories are possible. Average tales of hard work and success are often mundane.
- The people who don’t work hard, and who don’t succeed
This is fairly self-explanatory, as well. Lethargy rarely reaps success, and indifference is never rewarded—at least as far as the fair world goes.
If no effort is initiated, we cannot hope to be as lucky as Type 1. We cannot expect automatic, granted happiness with our jobs, lovers, and lives if we don’t work for it. If we are unhappy with some aspect of our lives, did we really put in our full potential to make it happen?
- The worst group: the people who work hard, but don’t always get what they want
This is the most heartbreaking case that we see all too often. This poses the question: is it worse to see ‘talentless’ people achieve success, or talented people never become discovered? Is it worse that Type 1’s like Paris have the fame and fortune Type 4’s undiscovered artists yearn for?
Unfortunately, we are all victims of stage 4 at some point in our lives. In school, we’ve all stayed up until our bodies grew immune to caffeine, yet we were still handed a bad mark. In more extreme instances, we’ve all sacrificed important aspects of our lives—time with our family, distance with our friends, opportunities for a job—to pursue endeavors that may not have buttressed the goals we set out to reach. That risk is what is terrifying—what if all of this isn’t worth it? What if we fail?
Ultimately, there is nothing more discouraging than watching our efforts reap a fruitless harvest. Hopefully, it is only through stagnation as a Type 4 that we eventually become Type 2’s. At some point, all our hard work is bound to pay off, and it is not worthy to believe anything else. Sure, some writers, actors, world leaders may seemingly have had everything handed to them with a stroke of luck, but most people toil and don’t reach their full aspirations in an instant. It is through these failures that we become more acutely aware of how desperate we are to achieve our goals.
It is only through perpetual failure and our willingness to learn that success may be peaking through the horizons.