Pulling Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps is a Myth


We’ve all heard the bootstrap myth. It basically states that anyone, in any station in life, can pull themselves up by their “bootstraps” and make a good living for themselves, even becoming rich or famous, simply by working hard. The truth is that there are many hard working people out there that try as they might, never seem to get anywhere. There are also many people out of work right now who are extremely hard workers – why haven’t they gotten the bootstrap break?

Of course we know it’s possible to start off poor and become rich or famous because of the success stories that are out there. There are definitely people in history who had a dream, worked hard and became millionaires. However, it seems to me that the number of success stories compared with the billions of hard-working people seems to be relatively small. I don’t believe that just anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become rich, famous, or otherwise successful, because there are a lot of other factors that have to come into play.

It doesn’t just take hard work and dreams. My guess is that it takes a certain kind of personality, and great networking skills along with a certain amount of luck. When I’ve watched programs or read biographies of “Bootstrap” Bill’s or Barb’s, many of them mention luck along with the other attributes most of the rest of us practice every day.

Most of us are looking to carve our little niche of success, and to get our big break, whatever that may mean for each person. But who gets these breaks? The poor? The honest? The ones who want it the most? The ones who need it the most? Or what about the hard working men or women cleaning hotel rooms, running restaurants, repairing our roads, or otherwise working hard to keep food on the table and roofs over their heads?

I don’t think so. I know more good men and women who put everything they have into doing the best job possible who will probably never get the ‘bootstrap’ break.

If everyone who worked hard was rewarded the way they should be, our country would be rich indeed.

Rose M. Garland, a successful graduate from the school of hard knocks, in the US foster care system, writes a daily blog to faithful readers about emotional self-help. As an editor, Rose catches those little slips that writers often make, so readers don’t have to!