On your own roads: selfmade

Read inspiring stories of successful individuals who have taken it upon themselves to shape their destiny from difficult circumstances and achieved self-made success. My article shows how perseverance, innovation and courage can change our lives, from the greats of the past to the digital pioneers of today.

Pain, struggle, of course some luck, perseverance and work, work, work.

The latest issue of Forbes was waiting in my mailbox today.

“You dream, you take a risk, you take a chance, and it works. In short, you are self-made. 33 exemplary women who have conquered a world, starting from more than one small village.”

Whenever I come across interesting content, I always get lost in thought before consuming it. Fortunately, there are plenty.

I don’t know about you, but my partner and I love watching documentaries about talented and persistent people. Most recently, we followed the careers of Andy Warhol, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.

Andy Warhol

Warhol, who became an iconic figure in modern art, started from a humble family background. Schwarzenegger, coming from a small Austrian town, went from bodybuilder to movie star and later to governor of California (the latter of which required a marriage of convenience, but please, there’s the strategy).

Sylvester Stallone

And Stallone , who also had a difficult childhood (yes, he was poor like many), conquered Hollywood with his Rocky and Rambo characters. The stories of these people are also fascinating examples of how someone can go from nothing to world fame. Because he wants to, he’s good at it, and because he wants it even more.

The “self-made” persons are those…

who started out in less than average circumstances and became successful people through their own efforts and talents. Their performance is based on perseverance. It is a term used to describe those who have built their careers through unique ideas and persistent hard work, showing that it is not always necessary to follow the path of others or be born into a wealthy family to achieve success. They are the ones who go their own way, building their own successes because: they had a good idea, a business plan, above-average determination, perseverance, charisma, and they followed through with what they had envisioned, despite the difficulties they faced (because everyone has them). And maybe that’s the difference: some people give up, and some people get sucked in once, twice, three times… and go for it again.

Although many people would argue with this, I believe that luck is always needed. Then, whether that luck is something we attract, or the result of predetermined processes… who thinks what.

There is a saying: “If it hurts, stop pushing.”

This was especially true in a previous project, when I was so exhausted that all my energy was drained. Yes, I have a tendency to be impulsive and often get into a state of flow, which is captivating, especially in moments of creation. These deep immersions, though very exhausting (and I don’t think particularly healthy), are wonderful because something new is born out of them. I didn’t stop, even when it hurt, in fact! That’s how I knew I was close, I poured 2 more coffees and there goes “Go for it”.

Everything has its price, but sometimes it’s worth it. I think I am far from selfmade, but who wouldn’t want to be, right?

But now, let’s talk about the ones worth talking about.

Past greats: the beginnings of independent success stories

At the time of the industrial revolution, self-made people were still a curiosity.

Alexander Graham Bell

Think of the great inventors like Alexander Graham Bell, who changed not only the world of communication but also his own life with the invention of the telephone. A Scottish-born inventor and scientist who lived in the United States and Canada, he is known not only for inventing the telephone, but also for his other work in communications technology. Through his research into deafness and speechreading, Bell has become a technological pioneer who has used his own curiosity and innovative spirit to make the world a better place.

John D. Rockefeller

There’s also John D. Rockefeller, the 19th President of the United States. One of the greatest industrialists of the 20th century, he is known as the father of the American oil industry, and like the greatest, he had no wealthy family. His economic success came with the founding of the Standard Oil Company and its incredible success. He’s one of my favorites because he didn’t live large (although I’ve always thought that anyone who can really do it, doesn’t show it…you just don’t tell about that). Rockefeller became known not only as a businessman, but also as a philanthropist who donated substantial sums to various educational and scientific initiatives. Throughout his life, he donated a tenth of his salary (eventually more than $100 million) to the church and to fund medical research. It was thanks to his support, for example, that a group of scientists discovered penicillin in 1938.

“His colleagues nicknamed him ‘The Sponge’, because as he roamed his oil fields he absorbed every bit of information, from the problems of simple, manual labourers to the activities of oil engineers.”

The stories of these two individuals are perfect examples of how self-made success stories bring not only economic benefits, but also social impact and innovation.

Pioneers of the modern age: digital dreamers

Let’s jump to the present, where self-made success is now much more widespread. In the age of the internet and social media, people can embark on journeys that would have been unthinkable in the past.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey, who also started out in poverty (as a little girl she often wore clothes made of potato sacks and had no running water or electricity in her home), and with childhood traumas such as sexual abuse by several family members, exclusion … she became a major figure in television, with her own production company and the “Oprah Winfrey Show”. In fact, a whole cult has developed around his person. Every word she says and every move she makes carries a huge weight, simply called the Oprah effect. This simply means that anything he puts his name to or supports is guaranteed to be a success. A great example of this was the Oprah Book Club segment she introduced on her own show, which was a simple book recommendation. No matter if it was a contemporary author or a classic, the book became a best-seller and was immediately snapped up by all outlets.

Her story is one of courage and perseverance, and an inspiration to those who face similar challenges.

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, started his business revolutionising online retailing from a garage. Jeff started by conducting systematic market research and creating a precise business plan, which led him to the realization that the best-selling product on the Internet was the book. The basic idea was that people use the internet to do business, so why shouldn’t they be able to shop on it. So, he set up a warehouse to store various products for sale, while servicing orders from all over the United States. Bezos’s success is not just a result of innovative business models, but of constant experimentation and big thinking. He is now the richest man who ever lived. According to Bloomberg, the founder of Amazon has a fortune of nearly $110 billion, and in addition to revolutionising online retailing, he has launched an astronaut spaceflight company (yes, he loves StarTrek), Blue Origin and bought The Washington Post. Jeff Bezos gets up early every morning, wakes himself up, and doesn’t use an alarm clock. He is careful to get at least eight hours of sleep every night and to have breakfast with his loved ones.

Beyond these examples, the new heroes of the digital age include Elon Musk, the head of SpaceX and Tesla, who is pushing the boundaries of technology and space exploration. Or Sheryl Sandberg, the former chief operating officer of Facebook, who is known for her success in the world of social media.

These self-made people are special because they have not only achieved economic success, but have also broken new ground in technology, communication and social media, shaping the modern world.

Characteristics of self-made people

But what are the main characteristics of self-made people?

  1. Unwavering perseverance: this trait is about intrinsic motivation and commitment to goals. From a psychological point of view, it is the ability to face failures and difficulties without giving up one’s goals. This endurance is linked to resilience, the ability to recover quickly from adversity.

2. Innovation and creativity: these self-made people are able to explore new perspectives and apply creative solutions to problems. This trait reflects an openness and curiosity that allows them to come up with new ideas and put them into practice. Psychological flexibility and cognitive flexibility also play an important role.

3. Risk taking: this trait is closely linked to self-confidence and decision-making skills. Self-made people are willing to take risks because they trust their own judgement and abilities. This confidence comes not from recklessness, but from careful consideration and a positive attitude to challenges.

Otherwise, you know who I’m thinking of as this article is being written? Well, one of the greatest artists of the ’90s… If Jimmy isn’t selfmade, I don’t know who is! Now he is so self-made that he has invented himself, the past, the future, all in one 🙂

Imre Zámbó, better known as Jimmy Zámbó

But now let’s move on to you!

How do you know if you are self-made?

Signs of a self-made personality include independence, self-determination and finding your own way. If you feel that your own efforts and decisions shape your life, and you learn and grow from your own experiences, you are probably a self-made person. It involves thinking for yourself and choosing the original path, even swimming against the current.

How can you be self-made?

The first steps to becoming a Selfmade Man include (not having to talk about it…), setting goals, developing self-reliance, and having the courage to face challenges. That’s it, be brave, really brave! It is important to be constantly learning, to be open to creativity and innovation, and to accept risks and learn from mistakes. Let your passions and interests guide you, while you are free to experiment with new ideas.

What should you do if you encounter obstacles on the road that you think you can’t overcome?

When you face difficulties, it is important to keep a positive attitude and perseverance. Look for learning opportunities in the obstacles and don’t be afraid to ask for help or try new approaches. Overcoming obstacles is often about flexibility and problem-solving. Remember that failure is part of the learning process and part of progress, don’t let it deter you from your original goals. We often knock for a reason. I’ve had projects that I did only because some people said out loud that I couldn’t do it (and that’s how it became a real success). In hindsight I’m grateful to him, my wounded ego friends, now that can really drive me on.

The story of self-made people is not only a story of economic success, but also of independent thinking, creativity and courage. From the greats of the past to the innovators of the present, these people constantly inspire us to follow our own dreams, to trust our instincts, showing us how perseverance, innovation and courage can lead to incredible results.

Plan it, stick it out, love it and work as hard as the beast.

You will get results, believe me.

It worked for them, and it works for us, if we get off our asses!

Aletta Nagy-Kozma

Aletta Focus Marketing