nobody’s an island — not even her.

7 Things to Do Before You Can Say You’re “Self-Made”

So you want to go around touting yourself as a self-made millionaire, or whatever sobriquet you’d like to adorn yourself with? Great! It’s all the rage these days! Here’s a checklist of things you must do beforehand. Once these are complete, self-aggrandize to your heart’s content!

  1. Check with your parents, guardians, friends, family members, teachers, mentors, and advice-givers who looked out for you during your formative years. Ask them for permission to omit their role in your upbringing from your narrative.

Once you have all those steps checked off, you’re good to go. Feel free to write an article in Fast Company about how you made your millions (or billions, you go-getter!) and picked yourself up by your bootstraps. As a bonus, you can then also chastise all those who don’t do the same. Heck, you might even be able to build a platform out of that to run for political office. And remember, just like when you first struck out on your own, the sky’s the limit!

Alternatively, you might want to just admit that nobody does it by themselves (even Tom Hanks’ character in Castaway had Wilson!). We all had help in getting where we are — whether we acknowledge it or not. In fact, what separates the good people from the ignorant pricks is the realization and outward acknowledgment of two things:

(a) everyone had some help getting where they are today, and

(b) that help should be acknowledged and, to the extent possible, provided to others who need it.

The concept of the “self-made” anything is a farce. Everyone has had help, and everyone should be respectful enough of those who helped them to acknowledge that. Acting as if you are the sole person responsible for your success overlooks countless people who have had a part in your getting where you are today — both those you know, and those you don’t. When you fail to recognize and appreciate just how interdependent your success is with others, you show yourself to be ignorant and inconsiderate. It’s a bad look.

Still, if you have the brass to try to claim you’re “self-made”, the checklist above is still applicable, granted you can get through it. Best of luck!

Author of “The Wabi-Sabi Way” and “Be, Think, Do”. Subscribe to my newsletter “Woolgathering”:

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