It is surprising to me how many highly successful UK careerists I have known within medicine, science and academia - and I know a lot more at one remove (i.e. via a friend who knows them).
By 'successful' I mean those who have been 'honoured' through the British Honours System of (in ascending order) medals (e.g. MBE, OBE, CBE), Knighthoods (Sirs and Dames) and Peerages (Lords and Ladys).
If this is the kind of success you wish for, and you are able and hard-working (and able to tolerate vast swathes of tedium) it is clear that the most successful plan is likely to be The Saruman Strategy.
This could equally be called the Fifth Column (i.e. the enemy already within the gates), the Quisling or the Vichy (Petain) strategy (the last two named for successful Nazi collaborationists in Norway and France).
The basic plan is simple - although not easy: become eminent in a social system such as medicine, science, education, law, the church, the police or military - and then subvert it to allow for managerial take-over with a politically correct agenda.
In sum it is the strategy of treason and betrayal for self-gain.
(Note: It used to be possible for British people to get honours by being good at their work - but that has become very difficult and rare - and is extremely slow compared with the Saruman Strategy. For example James D Watson was eventually knighted - honorary KBE - but more than half a century after he discovered the structure of DNA!)
So most modern honours are awarded for betrayal and treason.
But how do the honoured people justify this to themselves? By exactly the same rationale as drove Vidkun Quisling and Marshal Petain (not to mention Saruman) - that is to say by arguing:
1. Defeat is inevitable - therefore:.
2. Early capitulation will cause the least damage to 'our' nation/ institution/ profession (and I personally will undertake to manage it so as to cause the minimum of disruption).
Of course, defeat only becomes inevitable because of the multitude of Sarumans.
However, given the over-supply of Sarumans in the modern West, the canny strategy is: If you can't beat them, you might as well join them - and make the best of things.
And in a nihilistic post-Christian society, that argument is the ultimate conceivable bottom-line - hence utterly compelling.