“Is achievement an act of perseverance or insight?”
I am trying to help my students understand that making an effort is often what distinguishes a successful and insightful person from the crowd. That being creative, thoughtful, and engaged is a mark of distinction.
I can only speak for the culture in which I live, but I am often struck by how social and popular media push image-as-achievement. In other words, should you craft the right image you have actually accomplished something. Whether that something has any meaning beyond mirroring back to you the appearance you believe you want remains something of a mystery to me. But I think that image construction, while an art in itself, is no substitute from what can actually be accomplished with a sense of creative commitment supported by normative concern and engagement.