Can Everyone Do Anything?

First things first, if you are interested in the photography pieces I put up, this one might not be for you.  This is one of those things that has been making me think for a bit and I felt like blogging about it since it might provide some interesting feedback from anyone out there.

I have seen a number of things recently that seem part of a trend.  The death of Steve Jobs was one of these stories but it is by no means unique.  The general theme is that with hard work and commitment, anyone can achieve their goals and ambitions.  This is a very nice feelgood kind of thing but I wonder if it is really true.

I certainly do not disagree that, to achieve high levels of success, you are probably going to have to put a ton of effort in and make sacrifices along the way to get what you want.  (There will be occasional cases where the great stuff falls in the lap of someone but I don’t think they are the rule!)  For those of you that like logic options, I wonder whether one implying the other is being misconstrued as an equivalence.

A friend recently tweeted a link to a motivational speaker that I checked out.  They had the same message:  anyone can achieve their ambitions with hard work and determination.  I just don’t think that is true.  The fact you hear these messages from people that have achieved something gives it credence but, are they natural achievers and not a fair sample of the population?  Are they telling everyone to never give up and never settle when, perhaps, that might actually be a good thing for them to do?  Do you know someone who you suspect could never achieve their goals however hard they tried?

This is part of a general theme I notice today about wanting things enough being what matters.  A parallel to this is sickness, particularly cancer.  There is a common theme about fighting cancer and not giving up.  Cancer can be a vicious illness and there are times when it is going to be fatal however hard you try.  Are we now judging its victims as people who didn’t try hard enough to live?  I don’t believe that is right but it seems to be the subtext a lot more these days.  Phrases like “He finally couldn’t fight it any more” get used and imply that they could have done more.  What a rotten message to send and a poor impression to leave the bereaved about how you view what happened.

What is all this to say?  My point is that we can strive to do things and to overcome situations.  However, we don’t all have some preordained right to achieve everything we want that can be attained only if we try hard enough.  Try, yes!  If you don’t always make it, you are not a failure.  You are a human-being, just like those telling you how wonderful they have been doing something you couldn’t do in the end.

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One Response to Can Everyone Do Anything?

  1. Tom McDonald says:

    Rob, I think you are right about not being a failure if you do not always succede and yes, trying hard with sharp focus is not always a sure-fire recipe for triumph but… where would you be with out that effort?

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