SAT Essay Sample from the Official SAT Study Guide Practice Test 4
The old saying, “be careful what you wish for,” may be an appropriate warning. The drive to achieve a particular goal can dangerously narrow one’s perspective and encourage the fantasy that success in one endeavor will solve all of life’s difficulties. In fact, success can sometimes have unexpected consequences. Those who propel themselves toward the achievement of one goal often find that their lives are worse once “success” is achieved than they were before.
Assignment: Can success be disastrous? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
SAT Sample Essay - Score of 6
The power of success can be disastrous when placed in the wrong hands. Naturally, there are those who will always choose to manipulate conditions to succeed in their own endeavors, not taking into consideration the lives of those around them. On the other hand, there may be those who do not necessarily pursue selfish ends, but simply do not know where to take success once it has been achieved, thus resulting in their own self-sabotage.
Throughout history, we have seen success used wrongfully in the hands of the unworthy. Powerful leaders of nations, kingdoms, and empires, having succeeded in gaining leadership, have then used their influence wrongfully in achieving their own selfish (and sometimes twisted) goals. Nero, the Roman emperor who beat his pregnant wife to death and has been suspected of instigating the great fire of Rome in an attempt to boost his own political influence. Henry VIII of England, for whom women were beheaded for not bearing him a son, and who is rumored to have eaten eight chickens a night while English peasants starved. The notorious Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, who carried out the Spanish Inquisition. The list is endless. Even in literature, we see the corruption and downfall of society and mankind as a whole as a result of the abuse of success in the possession of those who do not deserve it, as seen in William Shake- speare’s tragedy of King Lear. In the story, societal order is replaced with chaos when there is a power shift from Lear to his evil daughters, Regan and Goneril. This order only returns to a slight degree when virtue (in the form of Lear’s good daughter, Cordelia) returns to England. Success is hazardous when awarded to the unvirtuous.
However, there may be those who are not necessarily evil of greedy in their pursuits, but merely do not know how to handle success. This proves to be just more disastrous to the individual than to anyone else, since it is the individual who will then sabotage his own success to return to his former comfort zone. Success is meant to be grown upon, not exploited or feared.
Success, when achieved by the unworthy or inexperienced, is a most disastrous element. Success is not about being happy at the expense of those about you –it is about using one’s newly gained happiness to improve the lives of others. If one reflects on the wise words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, one will never go astray: “To know that one person has breathed easier because you have lived -this is to have succeeded.”
Please help me, write your comments about my essay.
Can success be disastrous? A question that no one questions when they try to reach success. Success is defined as money, knowledge, power, authority... etc. When people try to reach success they want one of those things and maybe all of them, but they never question what will happen through their journey and when they gain what they want what will they lose in return.
Business men is a great example for the miserable life that sometimes success may cause. Everyone wishes to be rich and powerful; and for some people their greed for success to do unpleasant things unconsciously. Through the journey of trying to rich and powerful they tend to lose some important things by time, and they don't notice that except when they reach what they wanted. We hear a lot about business men who lately got divorced and their kids turned from loving them to hating them and a lot of lovely things they had in the past but it's all gone after succeeding. You never imagine that you may lose your favorite people to reach success, but unfortunately when we gain what we want that's the time when we notices what we lost.
As an another example Dr. Faustus. Dr. Faustus is a novel about a man in the Renaissance age who didn't like being limited. Even though he reached the highest level in nearly everything his greed for more was beyond imagination. He thought that necromancy would give him the unlimited life but when Dr. Faustus made the deal with the devil and became a Magician his found that his life became more limited. He couldn't get married because he was damned, he can't bring dead people to life again, and everything Mephistopheles his '' devil servant'' told him were things he knew before. Dr. Faustus huger for the unlimited life made him blind to see the signs that appeared for him before signing that contract.
Indeed success isn't a bad thing, but before starting our journey for success we need to think what will we lose through this journey and is it worth it?