I read this article “How The Cult of Early Success is Bad for Young People” at TIME today, and the title bothers me.
From a glance, this article is pretty well written, I suppose. It cites various resources, and provides an interesting point of view that I mull for quite sometime. But this type of journalism bothers me, because it nitpicks at success stories and positive energies… and turns it into an argument that success is bad for other people.
Perhaps it’s for the sake of publishing a story-grabbing title in the midst of hundreds of articles about Taylor Swift and Malala Yousafzai. But try to imagine and put yourself in their shoes… say, for example: you have worked really hard over the years, and you share your stories of struggles and how you eventually reached a point of success as a way to inspire… and somebody merely point out that “Hey, your story discourages people because it made them feel not good enough, yknow”. How would you feel?
I understand that success could be bad for yourself if you don’t manage it properly. But to accuse someone’s hard work, experiences, and otherwise successful story as something that could harm others, is rather uncalled for.
The article argues:
The fact that young superstars seem to have been born fully formed implies that growth and learning aren’t part of the recipe for success. “It not only tells them they don’t have time to grow, it saps them of the motivation to grow,” Dr. Dweck says.
I suppose it’s true that to a certain extent, we sometimes couldn’t help but to compare ourselves against other people. Though in most cases, I found myself comparing with friends / somebody kinda closer to home, rather than some faraway celebrities or world figures. Still, I think I’m pretty good with this: being comfortable without really caring about how well other people is doing. Some ways it’s apathy, but some ways it’s simply being content with how I’m doing, regardless of the imperfections.
Because if we think about it… it’s not those success stories that discourage you. It’s your own comparison that discourages you. Just like how hope and being strong is a decision to make, I believe that being discouraged through comparison, and staying in that pit, is also a choice that we have.
And there’s always a thousand reason that can cause us to be discouraged. But hey, I don’t think it’s ever fair to put the blame on somebody else.
Because it’s also our choice, to stay courageous, and take whatever success other people experienced out there… as a way to motivate us, to do a little better.