by Connor Y., Palo Alto
Success has no restrictions; every victory counts, regardless if it’s winning a basketball game in one’s youth or becoming a millionaire in old age. However, the topic of success stirs up hot debate. Many people think that others cannot become successful without help and support. They believe that even the strongest and most successful leaders need advisers to define their goals, as well as followers to carry out their plans. Others argue that only those whose accomplishments are truly their own can claim to have success. I agree with the former argument: success should not be judged based on the conditions under which people achieve it, especially whether or not one receives support from others; receiving help from others is not a sign of weakness or a lack of ability to complete everything by oneself. Furthermore, if the mark of true success is strictly when a person solves a problem on his own, then few people in the history of the world have ever had success. Anyone who achieves their goals can call themselves successful, but it helps to accept guidance or assistance when it’s available.
One does not have to solve every problem by oneself in order to achieve success. For example, Steve Jobs, arguably one of the most inspiring figures among contemporary technology and business leaders, did not accomplish all of his great deeds on his own. In fact, Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, designed most of the initial computer software and hardware for the Apple I and II while Steve Jobs received the credit after becoming famous years later. Still, the world sees Steve Jobs as one of the most successful figures of the twentieth century. Success is not determined by someone working alone to achieve a goal. In fact, sometimes successful and smart people cooperate with others and make a powerful team to accomplish their visions.
If people must strictly achieve success by themselves, then little to no people in history have ever achieved success. Almost everyone who experiences some prosperity receives help, encouragement, or inspiration from the people around them. Working utterly alone in hopes of achieving a goal proves nearly impossible. Besides, when collaboration creates pathways to achieve the same goal, we should choose teamwork over isolation; humans are gregarious in nature and thrive on interaction. For example, in my math class, the teacher often challenges the students with difficult tests. One of my friends, Aidan, always ponders a difficult problem by himself, whereas my friend Alex always asks his fellow students or the teacher for help when he fails to understand a problem. Consequently, Aidan spends significantly more time and effort trying to achieve the goal of scoring an “A” on tests without much consistency. I am not suggesting that Aidan’s method of attempting to solve a problem individually is not valid, but one should access resources when they’re available.
Those who claim that independent and hard-working people capable of solving problems on their own are truly successful do have a point. People who manage to independently solve a problem always have a great sense of accomplishment afterwards that encourages them to do even better. Furthermore, working on something by one’s self fosters the possibility of creating personal worth and confidence, while on the other hand, working in teams can create unhealthy patterns of codependence in which colleagues fail to develop well-rounded skills. However, working in community can forge relationships that teach skills one might otherwise lack. If one already has a high level of independence and self-control, working alone lacks much benefit since the chances of success increase with the help of others.
Furthermore, teamwork can foster a good sense of boundaries and self-awareness in its constituents. When working together, it’s important to remember what work is your own and what work is someone else’s. For example, if my friend Alex from math class always asks me to do his math homework for him in exchange for candy, he would find himself unprepared when he has to take the unit test. In “helping” him by doing his homework, I only end up hurting him. It also drains my time and resources. It shows a lack of self-awareness and boundaries on my part. However, when you surround yourself with other people who care about you while understanding boundaries, you can potentially create a solid team to collaborate toward mutual goals. Good teammates understand that having clear distinctions of roles leads to competence among the entire team. Gradually, you can learn through experience and interaction, developing a sense of solid and clear boundaries.
Although achieving success alone inspires respect from others due to the hard work it requires, isolating oneself from help does not imply that the person will become successful. Furthermore, it does not matter if a person achieves his goals, but only that they reach completion for the betterment of all. In fact, working with others to accomplish goals benefits people often, given that the success realized touches more than one individual. The misunderstanding of success has become an important issue because many talented individuals work hard alone when they could accomplish much more by cooperating with others. More and more people can achieve success when they realize that victory has no limits and often comes through collaboration.