I read an article recently titled “The Legend of the Self-Made Man is Bullshit” and it really resonated with me. The self-made man really is bullshit and living by that myth only serves to limit your possibilities in life. I want to talk about it.
I’ve never fully internalized just how much help I’ve received over the years. In a lot of ways, I acted like the “proud self-made man” the author cautions against in his article. I liked to believe my ability and effort brought me to where I am. It’s my coding skills that got me the job. My education was the result of years of study.
But that’s patently false. And honestly, that kind of thinking is lonely. It breeds a sort of “me against the world” attitude. You were born into this world naked and alone. Now go fend for yourself. No, you were helped all along the way by generous, loving people and their efforts put you on this track to success.
When I stop to truly think of how much I have been given in my life, I am filled with gratitude. My company didn’t have to hire me, but it did, and I owe it my career. My parents supported me and trusted my ability to find my own path, and for that I am grateful. My friends put up with my weird ways and for that I am grateful. There was a benefactor in everything I’ve achieved in my life.
Reflecting on this feeling of gratitude opens my eyes to a whole network of supportive people in my life that are rooting for my success. Each person who was a positive influence gave me a push towards where I am today.
These are the cheerleaders who can share in every victory I have. I can look to them and say, “I couldn’t have done this without you.” Truthfully. And I want to be more aware of that so I can share more with them.
Help me, help you
When I look back at all these things I’ve received, I can see the truth: there is a network of people who want to help me. If I truly understand this, I can be much more open to accepting and requesting help. My people want to help, I just need to ask.
I want to be more intimately aware of how much help I’m getting from my peers every day. To accomplish this, I will start writing and reflecting on three things I am grateful for every morning. You are welcome to join me. Let’s help one another.
TL;DR No man is an island. Especially no successful man. (or woman)