I've been binge-listening to a podcast called How to Fail with author Elizabeth Day, on which the host interviews guests about their (you guessed it) failures. As well as how those failures shaped them into the people they are today. It often leaves me with something to dwell on later into the day.
The episode with Dolly Alderton really stayed with me, as Alderton describes how her parents truly believed she and her brother were capable of doing anything if they worked for it—even become Prime Minister in a year if they wanted to—and how growing up with this mindset thrust upon her gave her a lot of anxiety as an adult. That's because no matter how hard she worked, reality didn't quite match her expectations and there was a lot of struggle involved that she hadn't been mentally prepared for.
I had never really considered how damaging this mentality could be on children, and the impact the disappointment could have on one in their adult life. There are crucial factors that can play into success: who you know, how you were brought up, how open you are to opportunities and new experiences, accepting that there can be multiple routes to a single goal, willing to change routes mid-way, and as I've personally experienced, being at the right place at the right time. We're surrounded by quotes set on inspiring us not to give up, books trying to convince us that we're capable of anything, but these do not really consider context and can set us up for bitter disappointment if we're not careful or accept the fact that long-term plans do not necessarily work out the way we want them to.