May 19 2009

The ‘New York Style’ Recipe for Success

Published by at 9:17 pm under Essays

To summarize the overly quoted Frank Sinatra song: if you make it in New York City, you will make it anywhere, plain and simple. This assertion, however, seems to imply that becoming successful in New York City is not the easiest of tasks. Perhaps it is like an elite four-year college in itself; upon graduation, your New York City success diploma becomes universal. This may sound ideal and dreamy but it requires acknowledging the criteria or means for success in New York City. Although, the definition of success is relative, within the boundaries of New York City it is evident that individuals with passion, ambition, and a strong work ethic are among the few who benefit from greater life chances[1]and are thus more likely to become successful.

From Broadway to Radio City, New York City has been a haven for aspiring artists, many of which owe their eventual success to both the city’s resources and their genuine passion. New York City is a cultural conglomerate and it therefore requires that successful individual’s be truly passionate about what they do. Whether you are a play writer who is passionate about entertaining, or maybe you are an actor who is auditioning for a short film, New York City rewards those individuals who exhibit a certain level of passion in whatever it is they do. Moreover, New York City’s stance as a strong supporter of the arts has demonstrated how it rewards those who chose not to compromise their genuine interests.

Another important factor for success is ambition, which has recently acquired a negative connotation given the ruthlessness of the individuals who took down our economy with greed. Nevertheless, New York City has become famous for ambitious individuals; from small business owners to CEO’s, successful individuals are on a mission to constantly improve themselves. More than often, those who are most ambitious benefit from economic mobility. Therefore, in order to make it in this competitive city, ambition is a necessity that is often rewarding.

I witnessed an obvious example of New York City ambition while walking around Union Square, noticing a long line of professionally dressed individuals along the side of a building that seemed to be housing a business exposition. Men in power suits, women in blazers, all holding a folder or some sort of portfolio were waiting diligently for admittance into the event. Immediately, I thought, this is the kind of professional ambition you might only see in New York City, which has never lacked talent. Given the abundance of professionals that roam the city’s streets, it is palpable that for an individual to succeed it requires a greater level of ambition and perseverance.

It appears that ambition and passion fuel the work ethic of many New York City individuals and the very essence of that ethic is what prompts their eventual success. Hard work is evident all around. There is the street vendors who apparently spend well over twelve hours outside through all sorts of climates. There is also the businessman who wakes up every other day in a different city. Maybe it is the immigrant working a mediocre to provide for his/her children, or the college student working to pay off loans, whatever motivates your willingness to work hard can often be the basis for success in a city as abundant as New York City.

                The person with the big house, or apartment in our case, does not characterize success in New York City. A freelance writer might feel as successful as a Wall Street executive despite the obvious difference in wages. What makes this city great is the fact that success can present itself in many ways. Not everyone agrees on the definition of success, nor on the means to achieve it.


[1] Life Chances are the opportunities individuals are presented with to increase their quality of life.

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