Life Choices · Writing

Success At Any Cost

What value or personal belief have you compromised in the past to accomplish your goals? What lines have you crossed to achieve your dreams?

As a woman, would you use your femininity and sexuality to navigate the treacherous seas of patriarchal hierarchy to propel your career? As a man, would you feign relationships with superiors to get into the coveted corner office?

In the Spring of 2019, federal prosecutors charged dozens of people in a scheme to gain admittance to elite colleges and universities. In order to secure a spot for their children at top schools, these parents paid millions of dollars to coaches, test monitors, and college administrators to falsify test scores and game the admissions process. In all, 50 people were charged in the criminal investigation, with some serving prison sentences.

One fascinating aspect of this case was that most of these parents were part of the wealthy class, meaning they had the means to legally obtain the best coaches and tutoring services for their children. Notwithstanding their access to resources that regular folks could only dream of, these parents resorted to cheating their way to what they hoped would be ultimate success. Their brazen attempt to achieve success at any cost ruined their children’s lives—academically, socially, and psychologically.

Although most of these kids will bounce back and be just fine, the scars of their parents’ decisions will always remain.

Let’s ask another question. Is it possible to experience notable success without making concessions, compromises, trading favors, or bending the rules?

Consider your own success journey; what did you have to give up to close that deal or land that job, or obtain that position? What did you offer to secure the advantage over your competition?

The reality is, no one can have a great life without sacrificing something, without making some trade-off. And not every concession or deal-making is dishonest or illegal. Nonetheless, an exchange does not have to be unethical for it to be an advantage.

Everything has a price, including success. Think of every success story you have studied; the one common denominator among those stories was the price that had to be paid. Now, this is not to say that every successful person made some sleazy deal or prostituted his or her soul to achieve high-level success. I am not making that claim.

Although I have been highlighting (and conflating) two similar concepts (sacrifice vs. the price of success), I am seeking to establish whether or not a person is cognitively aware; that even success earned the right way comes with a trade-off. An exchange took place. Reciprocity was in full effect.

Following this line of reasoning raises the subsequent problems. The first problem with bypassing success obstacles is that there is always someone willing to do more to get ahead, whether that involves a payoff or other illicit incentives.

The second problem with short-cutting the success process is that the first “hit” often leads to the second hit—and before you know it, you are a full-blown addict, cheater, and scammer—caught in a web of lies, deceit, and addiction.

How can one avoid getting caught in such a dilemma? The answer is simple. Pay the price. That is, take the long route.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.

3 thoughts on “Success At Any Cost

  1. It’s a lot about how you define success, isn’t it? In Western society for the past few thousand years, success has been measured in largely monetized and holding power terms. Not so much the person who triumphs over a serious illness, doesn’t allow a major trauma to sink them, or masters a task, helps others or plants trees. It’s almost as though you have to give up a rather important part of yourself to succeed in worldly terms. To me this means the whole concept of success has to be reconsidered, and it doesn’t revolve around money, really. It has to be about wholeness and community, or else it is pretty hollow. Someone like Usain Bolt brings real joy just by doing what he does.( On the other hand, you can see by looking at soccer players right now that the money which used to mean success has turned into a cage, with scheduled performances therein) A great singer does this as well, a good writer or painter. A mathematician or scientist can bring light to darkness. THESE are the things i think of as successful. Money is an energy, in a sense, and it is .being misused in our world. It should not be a measuring tool for a person’s actual worth, so for me it isn’t really a marker of success. It’s quite often a marker, in a way, of someone else telling you what success looks like, not so much that YOU have truly succeeded. (& all this from a bear who lives in the woods…..)(and i promise, i will be quiet now!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, my dear bear who lives in the woods ☺️ you’ve captured the essence of many people’s thoughts about success not revolving around money, and money not being treated as a marker of success.

      I’d say that one reason money is often viewed or used as a marker of success is because it is easy to measure. For example, if someone were to sell you on the future prospects of their company, one of the ways to measure success would be by making a correlation between the services being offered and the amount of revenue those services generate.

      As a measuring tool for a person’s actual worth, I agree that money is not an accurate indicator of success.

      Liked by 1 person

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