Helping hands can come in many forms

Autumn Kunkel and Autumn Kunkel

We’ve all heard the generic “rags to riches” success story once or twice.

It usually involves a person of low socioeconomic status working hard for years, and later being rewarded for their dedication with increased wealth and a considerable stretch in self-importance.

When applied to real individuals, often times they’ll run with the general outline of this tale, even going so far as to give themselves all of the credit for their success, ignoring any and all people who might have impacted them along the way.

Too often, I hear the mighty successful folk boldly assert that they, alone, obtained their success.

And I’m not just talking about individuals who have attained an excessive amount of wealth – anyone can have this attitude, whether they just earned a decent paying job, or even a degree.

What I’ve come to notice is that these types of people, the heroic “lone wolves” in the stories of their lives, seem to be ignoring the fact that “helping hands” can come in many forms and, no matter how seemingly unimportant, they probably assisted in their success, whether they want to acknowledge it or not.

At this point in my life, my success, though present, is fairly minimal, limited to good grades and educational awards.

In fact, I consider my college attendance alone to be a success, given the financial and social barriers I grew up with. This is where those “helping hands” come into play. I come from a financially unstable and wholly uneducated family.

I was not raised in a household that held higher education in particularly high regard, and I was never pushed to go to college by anyone who raised me.

So, how did I end up here? Well, my junior year of high school, one of my teachers saw something in me that I was completely oblivious to.

In her eyes, I had the potential to be just as smart and just as successful as my more privileged classmates, and she acted accordingly.

She pushed me to take Advanced Placement courses, encouraged me to never give up and, above all, suggested that I look into colleges.

And here I stand today, with an almost-complete degree, the first of many I hope to obtain. This probably wouldn’t be the case if not for her considerable influence.

This is just one example of the many ways in which I’ve been aided in reaching my full potential.

Throughout my life, I’ve had wonderful friends, teachers and even select family members who offered unconditional love and support and helped me get where I am today.

The take-home point I’m getting at is that a helping hand can come in many forms, and even minimal assistance can be pertinent to one’s success.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be proud of themselves for their accomplishments; obviously, for one to be successful, usually they have to do a little work themselves, and they deserve credit for that.

But for one to claim that they did it all on their own, that no one ever offered them support in any way, is, quite frankly, highly doubtable.

It’s more likely that individuals who make this claim are simply blind to what life offered them from the very beginning, whether it be a loyal friend, an encouraging teacher or a dedicated family.

Very rarely do people become successful purely on their own, and I think it’s important that this notion be recognized.

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