Success can involve hard work as well as risks

By Francesca Maietta | Reporter

Success: “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.” (as defined by

Everyone wishes and hopes to be successful one day. I mean, it’s the American Dream. However, everyone takes different routes to get to there. But what actually defines success, what is it that makes a person successful? Some will argue it takes hard work and careful planning. Others believe it’s all about taking risks and chances. I personally believe it’s a little bit of both. I mean, what’s the point in taking a risk before planning it out first?

More now than ever before, there is a demand to be different. Too many people are considered average and play it safe. They do what they know will bring them success without taking any risks at all, and what’s wrong with that? But then, there are those like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg who have found extreme success by taking huge risks.

With great risks come great rewards… sometimes, if you’re lucky.

Take Musk, the creator of PayPal, for example. His risks began to fail him before they took off in the right direction. Once Musk started gaining very steady income from his PayPal business, he decided to invest millions and millions of dollars into two of his own startup companies, SpaceX and Tesla. Trying to manage both companies at once put him in a rut, nearly sending both companies into bankruptcy. But after he got his ducks in a row, the companies took off and are both thriving today.

But, what if he couldn’t get them out of bankruptcy? That’s where I believe a plan would be beneficial. He also had millions to invest to make up for the millions he could have potentially lost, so, I think he had a bit of an advantage.

Zuckerberg was another big risk taker, which earned him the title of the youngest billionaire on the planet. Zuckerberg is worth an estimated 58.2 billion dollars — no big deal. All he did was drop out of Harvard to pursue a networking platform known today as Facebook.

Sure, these people are inspiring. Their path to success definitely does not fit the norm. But, there is no right or wrong way to define success. People get there one way or another, so what does it matter how? Taking risks is not the only way to push your limits, you can do that by working hard and planning.

I know that personally. Any and all of the risks I have ever taken, no matter what they have been toward, have been planned out. You have to plan how exactly a risk will be executed, and you need to have a backup plan in case the risk fails. Any success I have had, I have worked for. All good grades or projects I am proud of have been products of careful planning and hard work. Sure, I got risky in some of my presentations in the ways I executed them, but I definitely planned my risks out. All important, success-defining decisions require some degree of planning, no matter what anyone says. There is always some sort of structure to the execution of risks.

Zuckerberg once said, “In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” That being said, who’s to say risks can’t be successful if they are carefully planned before being executed?