Being both ambitious and curious, people are always looking for a universal recipe for success. Nowadays, the idea of the direct relationship between one’s education and work has already reached its highest point and started to decline. Of course, a good education can help individuals to develop their identity and find the right direction. Still, a new approach to the factors and problems that shape one’s academic, professional, and personal performance has recently appeared. According to such a viewpoint, people’s personal success depends not only on qualification and competence but rather on some traits of character and appearance. The one who is going to create a modern and effective recipe for success should refer to high technologies, first of all. Imagine an “individual,” whose body and mind was created artificially. There is a person in front of you, whose genetic code, abilities, and experience are going to be developed from scratch. It is a well-known fact that human brain tends to change in response to the environment. Being as wise and open-minded as artificial intelligence is, this “individual” will reach the Internet in order to analyze the stories of all the most successful people in the world. Then, this “individual” will be able to choose its own race, sex, age, and a set of traits and skills. The parameters selected this way seem to be the essence of the recipe. What are they? The most obvious answer is that this “individual” would prefer to be young white male, interested in technologies and programming. Now, let us imagine that this artificial intelligence is not as prejudiced and blinkered as most people are. Then, it will pay more attention to personal traits and way of thinking. After a careful analysis of the information, our “individual” will find out that a contemporary recipe for success consists of just two things, which are confidence and rationality.
At this point, the issue of success itself requires explanation. When it goes to one’s personal, professional, or financial success, different ideas appear to be equally widespread. As long as our hypothetical “individual” would prefer the most general and universally applicable definition, success will be defined as a perfect balance between one’s self-expectations and actual performance. Also, the concept of success is closely related to such issues as inequality and discrimination. In fact, these phenomena are believed to be the dark side of each success. Several authors have already discussed the most crucial issues, such as gender and age discrimination. Their findings appear to be helpful in establishing the universal framework of successful performance. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman are journalists and the co-authors of two books devoted to the value of women in the business world. Together, the authors discovered that even most influential American women usually suffer from self-doubt. According to the article published by The Atlantic, women are less self-assured than men, which affects their professional success a lot (Kay and Shipman). It is necessary to mention that these journalists are quite successful. Kay presents BBC World News America on BBC World News, whereas Shipman is a senior national correspondent for ABC News’ Good Morning America. In addition, their books are popular among the wide range of audiences. Still, both authors admit that sometimes they feel that they are not intelligent enough to compete for the most-prestigious jobs or appear to be “just lucky,” when it goes to their accomplishments (Kay and Shipman). Obviously, they are wrong in these cases, but the thing that forces them to think the way they do is significant. After a thoughtful investigation of the subject, the authors have come to the conclusion that women can fail to “break the glass ceiling” and to overcome both cultural and institutional barriers due to their own critical lack of confidence (Kay and Shipman). As long as Kay and Shipman discover the ways one can develop their own sense of confidence, their findings appear to be very helpful within the framework of the current paper.
All the studies mentioned by Kay and Shipman has resulted in the same conclusion:
in most cases, people’s overconfidence can get them really far in life. An example provided by the authors appear to be quite illustrative. Several years ago, Hewlett-Packard has discovered that women working at the company tended to apply for a promotion only when they believed that their qualifications were 100% relevant to those listed for the job, whereas men’s self-evaluation allowed them to apply when they met at least 60% of requirements (Kay and Shipman). Here, an important point is that men do not let their self-doubts stop them from leaning in as often as women do. This statement is crucial because it reveals the initial mechanisms of success. The true overconfidence can open the doors that should have been closed forever. Of course, there is a room for failures and mistakes. Still, the general tendency appears to be more than optimistic. Another author, whose approach to the phenomenon of success resonates with the ideas presented in the current paper is Grace Wong. Working as a software engineer in Oakland, Wong argues that being older than 20 years is believed to be the worst characteristic in the world of innovations and high technologies. According to the author, in Silicon Valley, young people are believed to meet all the requirements established by startups, meaning that “they move fast, aren’t afraid of change and are more innovative” (Wong). Ignore the age issue, and you will get the second aspect of success, which is rationality. Changes and innovations appear to be crucial to solving most contemporary problems. To be effective, all ideas must be rational and justified. Wong states that person’s age provides a scale for measuring success against one’s peers. Unfortunately, due to the fear of becoming irrelevant, too many people are turned off from hunting their opportunities because they consider themselves to be too “old” to succeed. Here, as well as in the cases described by Kay and Shipman, people’s fears are not only harmful but also unreasonable. These authors address two major problems which are gender and age discrimination in the workplace. Their arguments, however, reveal that it is possible to achieve tangible progress by working with people’s confidence and self-esteem. Recent behavioral studies have discovered that women tend to ruminate over what has gone wrong in the past more often in comparison to men (Kay and Shipman). In the same way, people from Wong’s article can feel insecure due to their previous experience. In both cases, the path to success is based on action.
The strongest advantage of an artificially created “individual” that mas mentioned above is that this person would have no experience of past failures and no fears. Being confident and rational, such an “individual” would generate bold ideas. Sooner or later, one of these ideas would lead this person to success. As long as the strongest advantage of the human brain is that it can change its strategies and patterns over the course of one’s life, it becomes possible to follow in the same direction. Nowadays, the development of one’s confidence appears to be as important as knowledge and skills. I believe that the brain’s plasticity is the instrument that should not be ignored.
- Kay, Katty, and Claire Shipman. “The Confidence Gap.” The Atlantic, May 2014, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/05/the-confidence-gap/359815/
Accessed 15 November 2017.
- Wong, Grace. “Silicon Valley’s Other Diversity Problem: Age Bias in Tech.” Model View Culture, issue 19, 9 April 2015, https://modelviewculture.com/pieces/silicon-valleys-other-diversity-problem-age-bias-in-tech
Accessed 15 November 2017.