The Road to Success - Idioms in Context

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Beare, Kenneth. "The Road to Success - Idioms in Context." ThoughtCo, Apr. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/the-road-to-success-idioms-in-context-1210661. Beare, Kenneth. (2017, April 3). The Road to Success - Idioms in Context. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-road-to-success-idioms-in-context-1210661 Beare, Kenneth. "The Road to Success - Idioms in Context." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-road-to-success-idioms-in-context-1210661 (accessed October 22, 2017).

Here is a short essay on how to succeed in today's difficult economic environment. Try reading the selection one time to understand the gist without using the idiom definitions. On your second reading, use the definitions to help you understand the text while learning new idioms. Finally, a short quiz on some of the expressions at the end of the story.

The Road to Success

The road to success is paved with failures.

That's a hard truth, but one that needs to be faced when considering how you are going to make a go of it in life. It's really quite simple, to come out ahead we need to find careers that we can do with all our heart and soul, but that also allow us to come out ahead at the end of the day. Unfortunately, we can't live off the fat of the land although indigenous people did so for thousands of years. We now live in an era that is highly structured and requires us all to make sacrifices as we jockey for position in life. 

Let's call a spade a spade: It's dog eat dog out there in the real world! There are so many stumbling blocks for young adults these days. From high unemployment to the high price of higher education - not to mention all the red tape we have to deal with - it's hard to succeed! However, with dedication, it's possible to succeed in the long run. In fact, with dedication, we can find something that really appeals to us.

Once we find our special talent, we can carry the torch of the tradition we have chosen. This might be in education, health care, having your own business, or even in politics! Each of us is capable of doing something that takes everyone's breath away if only for a moment. Getting there might mean that we have to fly by the seat of our pants from time to time, but, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

Along the way, we'll need to figure out how to foot the bill, but on the horizon, we'll have the hope of doing something more purposeful with our time. 

Idioms Used in the Selection

by the seat of one's pants = improvising, handling something as it happens

call a spade a spade =, to tell the truth about something, even if it is difficult to accept

carry the torch = continue a tradition

come out ahead = be profitable or advantageous in the end

dog eat dog = extremely competitive

fit in = do something that helps you belong to something

foot the bill = pay for something

in nothing flat = very quickly

in the long run = over a long period of time

jockey for position = try to get into an advantageous position

live off the fat of the land = survive based on what nature provides

make a go of it = succeed

on the horizon = coming in the not too distant future

red tape = official forms that you need to take care of to do something

stumbling block = a problem or obstacle that blocks your way

take someone's breath away = surprise someone with beauty

with all one's heart and soul = with complete commitment and dedication

Expressions Quiz

We'll _____________ for all your expenses.
We see many changes coming ____________.


There's a lot of ____________ during the application process.
She _______ his __________. He'd never seen such a beautiful woman.
We've had a lot of costs on this project, but we'll ______________ in the end.
The weekend will be over ____________. Time goes so quickly!
Big cities are often _________________, at least as far as business goes.
Let's move to the country and ___________________.

Quiz Answers

foot the bill

on the horizon

red tape

took his breath away

come out ahead

in nothing flat

dog eat dog

live off the fat of the land

More Idioms and Expressions in Context Stories

Learn more expressions using stories with one or more of these further idioms in context stories with quizzes.

There are also these idiom and expression resources that can help with definitions, but reading them in short stories can also provide context that makes them come more alive.