In our culture, success in itself implies no superior virtue. A book is not necessarily a superior one because it makes the best seller lists. Most books that achieve this distinction appeal to the mass market and are generally supported by extensive publicity. While success in the business world may require a high degree of business acumen, this quality has never before been considered a personal virtue.
Today it is the achievement that counts, not the personal qualities of the individual. Sometimes success is achieved by qualities that are anything but virtuous. Until his downfall, Hitler was considered a success by a great many people throughout the world. Of course, success may attend the individual with superior abilities; however, what is acknowledged is not the personal virtue of the individual but his achievement.
The actual accomplishment is often relatively unimportant. The author of six good books may be less of a success than the writer of one best seller. What does count is the recognition. Without recognition one cannot be considered a public success. To achieve success means to rise above the crowd, to stand out from the mass of people and be recognized as an individual. For the writer, it means that what he says or writes is now regarded as important. “He counts” is the way one successful author was described.
Before his success, he didn’t ‘count’ although what he wrote before his success may have had greater value than his subsequent work. Through success he had become important. We see this all the time. As soon as a person becomes successful, he is listened to with respect. Since he has ‘made it,’ his words may tell the rest of us who are still staiggling the secret of his good fortune. The successful person is important to all who wish to be successful.
1. What is the relationship between superior personal qualities and success?
2. How would you define a writer who ‘counts’?
3. Why is a successful person important to all who wish to be successful?