Success

My sister and I were talking about success, and she said something very important. Successful people, she said, are those who have an unshakeable, overwhelming, almost delusional belief that everything is in their hands, and if something isn’t working out, they just need to work some more, learn more, find the answers, and it will work out.

What I like about this definition is the part about such people being almost delusional in their belief that anything is possible. I think that this is an extremely attractive quality. My sister meets some very successful people, and they are all like that.

I wish one could encounter this more often in academia. I really love seeing people who seem almost drunk with the sense of the extreme importance of their research and teaching. It’s like they have the opposite of the impostor syndrome.

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3 thoughts on “Success”

  1. “if something isn’t working out, they just need to work some more, learn more, find the
    answers, and it will work out.”

    Hey, lady, this is how it works! Don’t tell me that I didn’t make it from a rural small town in Tennessee to a millionaire’s retirement decades later in Arizona because 90% of it wasn’t my own effort and my belief in myself.

    Yeah, having a high I.Q. and scoring well on the necessary tests along the way, and being white and male and tall and conventionally handsome and having a boyish smile that hid a raging cynicism beneath its apparent innocence helped — but I still get most of the credit.

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    1. There are tons of tall white men who amount to absolutely nothing, so there’s no need for these disclaimers. It’s a great achievement and you should be proud.

      I’m from a Soviet shithole. The people I grew up with amounted to absolutely nothing whatsoever. So of course I’m proud.

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  2. “I really love seeing people who seem almost drunk with the sense of the extreme importance of their research and teaching. It’s like they have the opposite of the impostor syndrome.”

    IME, there are plenty of such academics at R1 schools. Three in my hallway alone. Most are insufferable prima donnas, to be honest. They bring in a lot of grant money so they feel their research is the biggest thing since sliced bread. Sadly, they don’t give much thought to teaching and are singularly focused on their own careers, at the expense of their colleagues and often students.

    But nobody said that successful people had to be nice or liked.

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