Moving Up The Ladder of Success

Success is something that is a God-given gift throughout an onslaught of years of experience, failures, trial-and-error, and just living through life.

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What is the ladder of success and achievement, and how do people move up it? Throughout our society, many go about their daily lives in worry that they won’t achieve more, in attempts to let go of the past, in attempts to forget anything that happened that went wrong over previous attempts over activities in life and just tried to move on from them. The truth of the matter is, is that we need to move on from the past, and learn from it, not forget.

When Michael Jordan was in ninth grade, he tried out for the basketball team. Due to the amount of skill of other members who tried out, he was cut and the opportunity to play slipped by. But you know what? He didn’t stop there. He didn’t say “Oh well, good try, I gave it my best, time to move on to something else.” His attitude was that he had another 3 years to go through high school, and that possibly another 4 in college, and then heaven only knew if he were to go beyond that onto the NBA. He made 1,000 Free Throws a day. Not shot, not tried to make 1,000 a day, but DID NOT GO TO SLEEP AND RESTLESSLY TRIED HIS HARDERST BEFORE 12 O’CLOCK A.M. THE FOLLOWING DAY TO GET THOSE 1,000 SHOTS IN. He didn’t just wake up some day and say, “Gee look, I’m an NBA star”. It took hard work.

Another great example of a man who turned his weaknesses into strengths would be Scott Baccigalupo. Scott was a man who had lived in Brooklandville, Maryland in the early stages of the creation of the great sport Lacrosse in the Northeastern area of our country. In his early years, he never even dreamed he would play the sport. But coming up to High School, he decided to try it. As a player beginning in High School, he had no idea where to start, so he said “Maybe I’ll try out as a goaltender”. He worked his way to the top, always trying to improve his game. Eventually, the head Coach from Cornell recruited his talent and he served for 4 years at the College from 1991-1994. He did his best to put the team on his back, and not let anyone down. When the defense would fail on him and a player of the opposing team would get a shot off on him, he would flail his arms and jump in the air or guess where the opponent was going to shoot. The results of his hard work and ingenious unorthodox play style paid off tremendously. He made not 400, not 600, but 732 saves in his career with Princeton. With a 15-scheduled game per year, that’s about 50 saves per game. How can one say that he relinquished his past, repressed it, and totally forgot about it? In fact, he, like Michael Jordan, did not do this. He instead made the past a part of his extensive experience, helped it make him who he was to this very day, and eventually was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame because of his extensive skill.

All in all, success and achievement are gained through hard work, a great amount of persistence, focus, diligence, energy, and a drive unimaginable. Even though many of those qualities may seem hard to obtain, that doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect all the time in doing so. In fact, we should make mistakes along the way, get “beaten up” (as my father puts it) and allow it to shape our lives in a positive fashion. So, as you live your life, don’t forget that mistakes aren’t just an end-all horrible occurrence of a result of failure. They could be something that allows you to pick things up and keep moving forward.

Note: Thank you for reading my article! I did it in about 15 minutes and 30 seconds. Please rate it out of 6 as an SAT Essay, that was one of the prompts:

“Many persons believe that to move up the ladder of success and achievement, they must forget the past, repress it, and relinquish it. But others have just the opposite view. They see old memories as a chance to reckon with the past and integrate past and present.

Adapted from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, I’ve Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation”

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