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The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary,... Options
Daemon
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:00:00 AM
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The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)
capitán
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:11:57 AM

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Whoa, whoa, whoa...
Now that is a bold statement.

There's still plenty to say about it.
First, I think one should meditate about what is meant with "success."
Success, it doesn't mean monetary succes, does it?

Also, everyone is different, so some people might say it dependes on the individual.

And to say failure makes one bitter...that is also very arguable.
kenturner1
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:28:17 AM

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I wholeheartedly agree with this quote from the standpoint of wealth success. There are a-holes in all social classes but in my experience the most generous, kind and charitable are more affluent and the most bitter, envious and miserable tend to be less fortunate. I, by every standard, am poor working class. My failures and my lot in life only motivate me to try harder to do and be better.
MechPebbles
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:38:48 AM

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What a sweeping generalisation. Look at the child celebrities. I guess in Somerset Maugham's times, the child celebrity phenomenon was still some decades away. And while failure can be embittering, it can also be humbling. Failure can bring out qualities of strength, tenacity and endurance.
Trivium_Discipulus
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:47:53 AM
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MechPebbles wrote:
What a sweeping generalisation. Look at the child celebrities. I guess in Somerset Maugham's times, the child celebrity phenomenon was still some decades away. And while failure can be embittering, it can also be humbling. Failure can bring out qualities of strength, tenacity and endurance.


Agreed. There is a simple explanation of general human behavior and it is invariably wrong.
Trivium_Discipulus
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:51:27 AM
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kenturner1 wrote:
I wholeheartedly agree with this quote from the standpoint of wealth success. There are a-holes in all social classes but in my experience the most generous, kind and charitable are more affluent and the most bitter, envious and miserable tend to be less fortunate. I, by every standard, am poor working class. My failures and my lot in life only motivate me to try harder to do and be better.


Have you read Freakonomics? I recommend it. Suffice it to say there was one story in the book about how a donut business delivered donuts to three floors in a building.

1st floor was production.

2nd floor was administration.

3rd floor was the executive floor.

The donuts were delivered free up front, but anyone that took a donut was expected to pay for it by putting their money in a cup.

Guess which floor had the highest pay in rate and which floor had the lowest pay in rate...

I'm an individualist, so I respect individuals and realize that groups don't actually exist as independent entities. Over generalizing is just that, over generalizing.
CheVegas ☁️ ✈ ☁️
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 3:46:31 AM

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Both angles are wrong. Attitude is predicated upon individual character and integrity or lack thereof, not upon personal wealth.
Ajay Amitabh Suman
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 6:10:28 AM

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The impact of success and failure depends upon the individual character.
curmudgeonine
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:17:01 AM

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I've known successful people who are genuine and giving, but I've also known many to be cruel and bitter, and I've known unsuccessful people who are wonderful human beings.
108amitabha
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:20:34 AM

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The topic "Success" is quite interesting and has various interpretation. In general, success means happiness. To be happy or to remain happy in this world you definitely need money and material wealth. These are crucial and basic requirements for physical comfort and happiness. But is that all. No, you also require good health, fulfilling relation, active social life, a satisfying occupation for a successful life. Without these ingredients only money or physical wealth can not bring meaning to one's life.

To my mind Success is not a destination but a journey. You set up a goal for yourself and work hard to achieve it. But once you reach the target, you find that you need to climb to a higher goal to remain happy. It goes on and on. So success, therefore, has a shifting goal post syndrome in its very core. So enjoy the journey, be happy and celebrate the gift of life.
Dennis998
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:26:16 AM
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"Success" to most people means to a large extent "lots of money." In Maugham's day, it was moreso, other "touchy-feely" self-realization ingredients like job-satisfaction, health (!) being recent concepts added perhaps in the 70's.

But really, isn't good health the most important "success"? And isn't it the case that most people do not realize this until they lose their good health. Is there any instance of a rich sick person who would not trade places with a poor healthy one?

If you're in good health, congratulate yourself for your efforts and give thanks for any "outside help."

Yet there is the factor of attitude. It's been said that no matter your situation, there are people out there who are happy with less. You cannot control what happens to you; you can control your reaction to what happens to you.
Marguerite
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:40:34 AM

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As to Trivium_Discipulus's question of what floor left money for the donuts: I would guess it is the production floor where the workers work. Did not Jesus suggest that the poor are far more generous than those who steal from the poor.
Hope2
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:57:21 AM

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Trivium does not say it was fact - just a story.
Bully_rus
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 11:12:57 AM
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Daemon wrote:
The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)


It is the common erroneous idea among successful self-complacent people.
ithink140
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 11:33:49 AM

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Chevegas... may I recommend 'Saverspecs' to you?
Gishar
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:35:46 PM

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loved the quote. I wish there was more of this kind in this page!
nwoebcke
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:11:25 PM
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A UCB study asked if people with wealth treat others with respect or not. Here are the results:

http://www.nerve.com/news/politics/breaking-news-rich-people-are-jerks

jcbarros
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:28:37 PM

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Extreme situations (e.g. poverty or wealth), reveal the human being's true nature.
adele T
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:43:44 PM
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Quote of the Day

The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter.
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

It depends on the human quality of the individual. There might appear cases according to S. Maugham thought, but, generally, a self-made person does not become vain, etc. etc., because of success, as he has probably reached to it through many failures.

Pieter_Hove
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:55:20 PM

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Hey all, the answers to this citation are most interesting, so the citation is provocative while carrying a ground of truth, too. What I thought immediately was: it's how you deal with the situation, not what situation you're in, is like (says the white spoiled brat, no just kidding that last one :-).
Verbatim
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:54:12 PM
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Daemon wrote:
The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)


There are too many concepts involved in this excerpt from Maugham's literary memoir "The Summing Up" -first published in 1938 when he was 64-
for the generality of it to always pan out as true. He was, however, mostly concerned with literary success.

This other quotation from the same work is illustrative of Maugham's modesty even in the presence of some vanity:
"There is only one thing about which I am certain, and this is that there is very little about which one can be certain." Ch. 5, p. 12-13




Bertoray
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 4:48:50 PM

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If this quote is, per Verbatim's post, mostly concerned with literary success, it may be true inasmuch as it is based on his personal sphere of acquaintances. Out of context, however, the term success, today and by itself, is largely associated with wealth, which makes this Quote of the Day deliciously contentious.
Trivium_Discipulus
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 6:55:15 PM
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Hope2 wrote:
Trivium does not say it was fact - just a story.


Hi Hope2, I'm sorry for not being unclear. The author relayed a story of an actual event. While I can't personally verify it did, the author claims that this scenario actually occurred.

The executive level was consistently the most short. Administration was in second place. The Production deficit was the lowest.

The book is worth a read. He also discusses why so many people sell drugs when the risk / reward ratio is absurdly bad, among other interesting topics.

He has a sequel out now.

I believe he has a video production of the same name on Netflix.
kenturner1
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:29:59 PM

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Trivium, are you stating that this author is correct because he substantiates your point of view? Is this an isolated study or has this author studied other companies with the same operating structure? I'll gladly read the book; I'm always open to discussing different points of view. I still believe that wealth and wealthy are demonized and unfairly characterized. Quite frankly, I've encountered as many selfish and greedy working class and unfortunate people as rich folks. And anyone who justifies selling drugs because of oppressive, underpaying employers I can't take seriously.
Absurdicuss
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:16:51 PM

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Such generalizations, while expressing facets of truth are seldom accurate. I defer to several previous comments posted here.
Verbatim
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 11:19:53 PM
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Daemon wrote:
The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)


Somehow the bold emphasized statement got some unwarranted attention, just reading some comments about it.

Suppose we forget for the moment the original intent of this personal opinion coming from an artist, the context of it.
Think of "success" generally how it is mostly viewed today, 75 years later: power, wealth, notoriety...of course it took
some vanity, egoism and (smug) self-complacency even before being made humble, tolerant, and kind by the enormity of the accomplishment.






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