Whatever degree of success I ever have, I’ll always make sure to remember that it wasn’t merely my own actions that brought me this far. The support of other people, some long faded into the past, is where my success begins.
Suppose we take my recent art as the example. Yes, the practicing of the art- my physically drawing over and over again- is part of success I will eventually have. My improvements come partially from my practice. Yes, my own work, my effort, is a part.
Shall we consider other contributions?
First, let’s consider my husband- who inspired me to start drawing again when he saw the former manga I had drawn. He was so happy that he wanted me to continue drawing and wanted me to draw a comic just for him.
My husband bought me a tablet for Christmas- the Wacom tablets being the standard in the industry for drawing things digitally. He also bought me Manga Studio 5 EX, also used by professionals for drawing.
So my husband is one aspect.
My friends and family who see my art and encourage me to continue drawing, who tell me they can see improvement, or want pictures done of themselves or post something on Facebook that suddenly causes an idea to bubble in my head- they’re another aspect to my success.
The ample amount of art tutorials that can be found online, freely provided, both on websites dedicated to art and to Youtube- this is another aspect of my success. People who have made discoveries in drawing and coloring and so on, people who have shared the knowledge that exists from the past when someone set the precedent of figuring out how and why our eyes perceive things the way they do.
The fact that I have access to the internet (which someone invented at some point) and the fact that I generally am healthy due to the discoveries, innovations, and provisions made by other people are all other aspects to my stumbling toward success in art.
The point being this: never take for granted that your achievements are not solely your own. Never take for granted that what you achieve and discover in this life will benefit only you- what you see, what you discover, may one day influence and change the world and afford another opportunity and success.
Our successes and failures rely on our effort but do not take place outside of a context. The pervasive notion that I see in the USA that our success and failure is never due to others but is solely our responsibility is bogus. A better statement is this:
“Our own contribution to our own successes in so far as we have control over that contribution is solely our responsibility.”
The question then is to what degree we are responsible.
Certainly, I will not improve in my art if I do not draw.
In our society, I often see people pointing to this aspect as though it were a simple matter of people choosing to not do something as opposed to doing it. Life isn’t always that simple; there may be people who want to draw, but who not have the time, energy, health, and so on to be able to fulfill that dream.
Often people say that “Life is what you make it.” That’s an easy enough statement to say when you don’t live in a war-torn country, a highly impoverished country, or aren’t keenly aware of things like existential isolation. People who have complete mental and emotional health- yes, it’s easy enough for someone who has all the cards stacked in their favor to make trite statements that might apply to their life but don’t apply to everyone’s lives.
The people who do have the odds stacked against them who make it out of terrible situations are the exception to the rule, not the rule itself.
Anyway, the art was but one example- I could provide countless others. Even something like my ability to read isn’t something I just magically gained by myself; my parents had the alphabet in front of me from a very early age, so when I started kindergarten, I already knew the alphabet. I couldn’t read, but I had the basis of reading set up- and from there, it was the contribution of teachers combined with the efforts my mother had made to read to my brother and me that led me to a love of reading.
So in closing, always remember that your success happened in a context and is built on the success of others; our success should then be used to created exponential success for others. From others, our success; to others, our success!