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Audrey Hepburn and Gladwell’s Principle of Success Essay

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Updated: Aug 15th, 2020

The biography of Audrey Hepburn examines similar factors of survival that lead to a successful life. According to Spoto (56), “Audrey Hepburn has grown to be a rich and famous actor with a successful life that many admire.” However, not all is rosy, as Audrey Hepburn has a background of war that challenged her to desire the best for herself. Although successful, the life of Audrey Hepburn is from a demographic trough that contributed to her efforts to uplift her family out of trouble.

Following the Second World War, Audrey became the most prominent actress in the world. Gladwell (12) affirms that major challenges in an individual’s life could lead someone towards a successful life, making them prominent people in the world. The era of birth, the presumption to be heard, and the democratic trough, she was raised in; explain Audrey’s desire to make a name for herself. The current paper applies the three concepts from Gladwell’s principle of success to understand the success factors of the actor born in a demographic trough.

According to Gladwell (17) some people possess special background skills that may lead them towards success. These background skills often appear among families who notice the future of the child by studying their passions at tender ages. Some children are brought up under the instruction of how to get rich and live to outgrow these wild dreams and gain success (Gladwell 17). The background of a child is a key determining factor that propels the motivation in children to grow towards a successful life. During the early years of the 1900s, first graduates from university got jobs in market places before the destruction associated with the depression set in.

The talented Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn spent most of her early years in England schools (Ferrer 21). Before the war, she was studying in one of the colleges in the Netherlands. After the Nazis invaded the country, she and her mother struggled for a long period to make ends meet. Following World War 2, Audrey began following her career in dancing that led to her enrollment in several schools in London. In 1948, Hepburn was the best performer in a concert that featured her as a chorus girl. Audrey was able to “gauge what was really important from a very narrow period experience’’ and translate it into a success (Gladwell 34). Her story of success was not through as she proceeded to perform at concerts in New York.

The presumption to be heard

Gladwell (21) states that some individuals who were born into harsh lives and who witnessed atrocities of the society towards citizens grew up with the conviction to make a change in their lives by seeking an opportunity to be heard. Pushed by their poor backgrounds, people look for livelihood opportunities and practice their skills as the main way out of poverty. Such people embrace their inborn talents and try to nurture them at a very tender age.

Apart from having inborn traits, there are people who adopt skills due to the backgrounds of their lives. They view these as opportunities for success and start working on success through practice. The skills, which people may draw from a specific background have a bearing on the future success of an individual. Backgrounds give children the opportunity to adopt skills that they can nurture as they continue growing. Those with the privilege of visiting schools got the opportunity to nurture their talents further.

The grave nature of the World War left Audrey emotionally torn, and she began reading books to take her mind off the events of the year. Ferrer states, “She remembered vividly the fear she felt as a child when German troops invaded the city in Anhem (4). With the fear pushing her, she got the opportunity to learn ballet dance, and to act in movies. Audrey began making some funds on acting to sustain her mother, who did not work then.

As a ballet dancer and actress, Audrey went through intensive training that mould her into the successful figure that she grew up to be. Her teacher taught her dancing and often encouraged her to be a qualified performer of ballet dance (Ferrer 5). She rose to prominence before winning the academy award for best actress in 1953. She grew in stature to become the revered actress in Hollywood that she is today. The harsh life truly cultivated the desire to be heard.

The advantageous era of birth

Malcolm Gladwell (33) states that individual chances of success rely on a particular place that presents the history of the people who have been successful in their lives. This theme applied to all upcoming children whose parents wanted to determine their success by showering them with opportunities. Gladwell (33) affirms that being rich is dependent on the income level surrounding the growth of a child.

Children who grew up from families with high-income levels got the opportunity to grow up into geniuses since all the best schools were available, and money was not a concern. In contrast, those who came from low-income levels strived to make a living for themselves to educate themselves, and had a hard time growing up. The key to success among these groups was letting your background be the main factor pushing and individual towards success (Gladwell 33).

The culture of the era worked to Audrey’s favor, as they shaped her priorities that children pick up. For instance, young children that were successful in their lives got the opportunity to learn physical talents such as sports in schools. World War 2 affected the work cluster of this generation with many who were born in those years during time of war taken out from their schools, and drafted to war (Spoto 56). Many people did not view this job opportunity and viewed it as a hindrance that disrupted their lives. It is true that through the lessons associated with the depression and the World Wars pushed Audrey to look for a better life for herself.

Gladwell’s model of success shows what pushed Audrey Hepburn to look for better opportunities for her life and to make it as the successful actor that she is today. The era of birth, the presumption to be heard, and the democratic trough, she was raised in; explain Audrey’s desire to make a name for herself. She grew from ballet dancer to an actor of great prominence pushed by her background and the will to make a change in the life of her family.

Her success story is one of courage amidst trying times, accompanied with the passion to do what one knows and loves best. “Yet she emerged from her own life as a powerful person: strong willed and sure of what she wanted” (Ferrer 14). According to Gladwell, sufferings and poor backgrounds are factors, which may shape or destroy the future success story of an individual. Indeed, Audrey Hepburn’s history is a story about a girl with the presumption to be heard. Audrey came into an era that was only advantageous for its motivation to inspire a person towards success.

Bibliography

Ferrer, Sean Hepburn. Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit, Toronto, Canada: Simon and Schuster, 2005, Print.

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success. London, UK: Little, Brown, 2008. Print.

Spoto, Donald. Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn, Nevada City, US: Harmony Books, 2006.

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