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To think that we can't all be responsible for our success in life?

(38 Posts)
superstarheartbreaker Mon 08-Apr-13 22:18:03

Just been watching the programmes on Margaret Thatcher. In theory it would be wonderful if we were all completely responsible for our progress in life but there are so many factors at play. It depends on the family we are born into and the economic status/class of that family and their attitude to education. It depends on if we have experienced trauma or not, it depends on our mental and physical health. It depends on our passions, hobbies and interests. If we start a business , how it will do depnds on supply and demand and what other people want. It is not always a given that how hard we work is oin proportion to our finincial success. True, there are many things that we can be responsible for but I have had several set backs that weren't 100% my fault. So I can't completely agree. I think complete state dependancy isn't right either but there is a middle ground.

nokidshere Mon 08-Apr-13 22:25:17

I agree to a point but I do feel that it's just inherent to succeed in some people.

Booyhoo Mon 08-Apr-13 22:25:25

totally agree.

no-one is entirely responsible for their success or lack of.

Permanentlyexhausted Mon 08-Apr-13 22:27:22

YABU. I think we are all responsible for our own successes and our own failures. I suspect what you mean is that we can't all reach the very highest echelons of our chosen career/sport/hobby, but that isn't the same as being responsible.

nokidshere Mon 08-Apr-13 22:29:20

Sorry posted too soon.

There are such a wide range of people for whom success is achieved that it would be impossible to say that having a poor start in life, or having major health problems has an adverse effect. Similarly, there are many people who were born with a silver spoon but have not achieved personal or financial success.

Perhaps,the old adage that if you want it badly enough you can do it is true after all?

Dahlen Mon 08-Apr-13 22:30:28

Totally agree with you. Apart from the immediate family and wider socio-economic factors you mention, even being born with the intelligence and drive to succeed is in itself a matter of genetic luck.

I'm all for personal responsibility for one's life. I think far too many people abdicate it. However, it's a fallacy to believe that simply working hard and striving to do better will always lead to a better life. There simply aren't enough better lives to go around - and if large numbers of people started achieving better, 'better' in itself would become devalued. That's the nature of capitalism - some can acquire wealth only at the expense of others. It's a pyramid.

itsnothingoriginal Mon 08-Apr-13 22:30:42

Absolutely agree. You can do everything right - get a good education, work hard and still get dumped on from a great height by your company or situations outside your control.

I didn't choose to be a 'scrounger' on benefits but got made redundant and my dd was born disabled. I know what many a daily mail reader and Tory would say about that!

chandellina Mon 08-Apr-13 22:32:29

Yanbu but it's also not unreasonable to encourage and reward those who strive to have the best life they can.

AgentZigzag Mon 08-Apr-13 22:33:15

I completely agree, I've wondered whose 'fault' it is that I am like I am.

My parents and the way they brought me up? My genes? The environment I was brought up in?

It all of course comes down to 'me' and whether I can make the best of what I have, but what if my parents/genes/environment has shaped me so it's not possible to break out and be 'successful'?

I take responsibility for what I do/have done, but I can only work with what I've got, what else can anyone do?

It's understandable though when someone has been crushed by what's made them who they are and they give up a bit on striving for something better. Thankfully I've found ways round myself to get things I want, like an education, but that's not always possible for everyone and you can't blame them for it.

Dozer Mon 08-Apr-13 22:33:27


Permanentlyexhausted Mon 08-Apr-13 22:33:47

My point is that if you think people cannot be responsible for their own successes and failures then that is because you are measuring them wrongly and setting unattainable goals.

peeriebear Mon 08-Apr-13 22:37:24

As somebody once said on the internet, if hard work and ingenuity automatically brought success, every African woman would be a millionaire. Or something.

2beornot Mon 08-Apr-13 22:37:29

YABU. we are all completely responsible for our own successes in life, but the nature of success if different for different people.

Eve Mon 08-Apr-13 22:38:04

Succes is achievable, but you make compromises, for example, no jobs in an area, move to another, but some people don't want to leave family etc so compromise 'success' for family etc.

Same with being made redundant, I'm in IT and manage large teams of people, am forever counselling the, to be aware of what's going on, where the hot skills are, keep up to date with skills, adjust behaviour to what is required etc etc.

To be successful requires a high degree of awareness and an ability to change , adapt and respond.

superstarheartbreaker Mon 08-Apr-13 22:40:28

I think that people can only be responsible to a point. I know that I am responsible for succesess such as passing my exams. I am also responsible for messing up by choosing the wrong career and wrong ex dps. I am not sure I am responsible for some of the abuse that I have encountered and which has traumatised me. I think that it is a very Darwinian notion that we are all completely responsible. Survivbal of the fittest and all that.

bumperella Mon 08-Apr-13 22:41:07

Define "success"?
At the end of your life, will it be that you got promoted and were the boss? That you had a high income? That you were healthy? That your children are happy? that you were happy? That you contribibuted to society (how? financially?).
I do think that some people have fewer issues to hold them back and more advantages to drive them forward (eg good health, intelligence, positive parents, etc). But ultimately I would suggest "success" is better measured by happiness/contentment/fulfillment and that that is acheived by personal effort and a learned attitude, and not by never having suffered.

flaminhoopsaloolah Mon 08-Apr-13 22:43:29

No, YANBU. To think that where you've gotten to in life is completely and utterly reliant solely on your choices is arrogant. We don't' have complete control; life can throw all sorts of spokes in the wheel - how we deal with those challenges is up to us, yes, but we can only do so much.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 08-Apr-13 22:45:05


some people have a great start happy secure upbringing and others do not and that often shapes their adult life, their belief in themselves and their self worth and opportunities available to them

it would be so easy if it were that simple people and life is more complex than that

Dahlen Mon 08-Apr-13 22:46:52

Eve - and therein lies the rub - the ability to adapt and respond is often outside people's control, even when the spirit is willing.

There is a debate to be had about the wisdom of encouraging people to relocate regularly in order to maximise earning potential, which is known to have an effect on family breakdown, decrease social cohesion, reduce social mobility (ironically) and increase crime within communities. But quite aside from that, consider the following:

What about the person who wants to move to get better job opportunities but in doing so will lose their access to childcare and so the job is unaffordable even though they know it would pay for itself long term?

What about the person who wants to move but who is trapped in negative equity and simply doesn't have the savings to make renting out their house viable?

What about the person who has an elderly relative depending on them so can't leave the area?

What about the person who recognises that their skill set needs updating but doesn't have an employer who is willing to pay for training and cannot afford to do it themselves?

What about the person who wants to retrain but cannot because the course clashes with their job?

Some things are possible, others are not. Most are a lot more achievable if you have some savings behind you - something which the majority of the population do not have in these increasingly difficult times. In the past, it was possible to take out loans as an investment in your future, but that is also increasingly difficult.

thermalsinapril Mon 08-Apr-13 22:47:50

<Applauds OP>

YANBU. I couldn't agree more smile

AgentZigzag Mon 08-Apr-13 22:47:55

I agree that it depends totally on what you're defining as success, I take that I'm still here with a relatively decent standard of living and DH/DDs as a massive success.

But as the OP mentioned Thatcher, that's talking about how the state defines success, which is all about money.

Permanentlyexhausted Mon 08-Apr-13 22:50:20

how we deal with those challenges is up to us, yes, but we can only do so much.

But to me this is the measure of success - how you deal with the challeneges and opportunities you are handed in life and doing as much as you can with them.

tethersend Mon 08-Apr-13 22:50:57


Society would cease to function if everyone at the bottom 'worked their way up'- it relies on this only being possible for a few.

This is not to say that those who do make it don't work hard to get there, just that there is only room for a few to do so.

nokidshere Mon 08-Apr-13 22:51:07

I agree Eve. Many people don't want to make the sacrifices required or are, like me, too lazy and complacent.

A friend of mine came from a terrible abusive home, left school early with no qualifications, had 3 children and an abusive husband and no money. She wanted to do Law. She ditched the husband, moved counties 4 or 5 times, worked every hour the children were asleep or in school at 2-3 jobs at a time - she did anything from stuffing envelopes, posting samples, cleaning, supermarket jobs, whatever job she could get. She finally had enough money to,move house away from everyone and everything she knew in order to get a foot on the property ladder. Then she worked, did gcses, then OU. Finally, at the grand old age of 46 - and 20 odd years after she started, she passed law exams and is now a,solicitor. That's real determination.

I on the other hand, have not got the drive it takes to do that. I'm happy with 'doing ok'. Which I suspect is the same for quite a lot of people.

thermalsinapril Mon 08-Apr-13 22:52:29

"But to me this is the measure of success - how you deal with the challeneges and opportunities you are handed in life and doing as much as you can with them."

And if for whatever uncontrollable reason it doesn't work? Especially reasons which you wouldn't share with others, so they judge you without knowing your circumstances?

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