Those by their own initiative who have become successful in a business are to be admired. Many who desire to start their own business works hard toward that goal. Some times by sacrificing personal needs in order to save money for that purpose. We speak of those who do so of starting off on a “shoestring.” Yet, a politician made the foolish statement: “If you got a business, you didn’t build that.” It might surprise some people that many businesses started by individual’s initiative without government help.
The origin of the expression: “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” is unknown. Two of its earliest known uses in formal writing are when James Joyce used a form of it in Ulysses, in 1922. He stated: “There were others who had forced their way to the top from the lowest rung by the aid of their bootstraps.” Kunitz & Haycraft’s British Authors of the 19th Century in 1936 uses a more complete use of it as follows: “A poet who lifted himself by his own boot-straps from an obscure versifier to the ranks of real poetry.” I also learned that in the early days of computers a process called bootstrapping alluded to this phrase. It was some kind of code which enabled them to load something off the internet. From this the term “booting” is now commonly expressed concerning loading from the internet to your computer.
Dub Mowery is a Gospel preacher in the Church of Christ. A native of Southeast Oklahoma, he is the author of Colloquial Sayings & Expressions (Morris Publishing, 2008)