Our columnist Boyd Clack explores how being ‘successful’ in life depends on your background.
I met up with my old friend, Gwynne Price, the other day – he’s a strange bloke but I like him.
He’s highly intelligent, and in a different context he could have ‘achieved’ a lot but his failure to live up to his potential has left him both sad and and bitter I’m afraid.
I tried to explain that so called ‘success’ is 99 per cent luck but the ‘unsuccessful’ never accept that.
They seem to want to punish themselves.
Gwynne is not alone. He is a type not uncommon in the South Wales valleys.
We choose to see ourselves in the worst possible light – it’s to do with an inbuilt yet inexplicable belief that we are not worthy of achieving our dreams.
I can say this because despite a certain amount of success in my career, I remain one of these people. The lack of courage we feel is in itself an example of bad luck.
Where we are born, the social/financial situation we are born into and the corresponding increase in opportunities in life, education, social contacts, levels of self confidence/belief ditto.
Life is random and determined by chance. Being brilliant or talented doesn’t mean anything if no-one ever knows about it.
Thomas Gray knew this.
Shakespeare knew it.
Sophocles knew it.
It makes me smile when I hear ‘successful’ people claim people deserve their so-called success because they ‘worked hard all their life’ for it.
Surely they must realise that for every ‘successful’ person who claims this, there are probably hundreds of thousands of equally able people who have worked hard all their lives and ended up poor, alone and broken?
I said all this to Gwynne but he didn’t buy it.
I’ll be seeing him again no doubt.
I wonder what has happened in his life…