Observations on life

Did you get where you are and not deserve it?

Americans are more likely to believe that people are rewarded for their intelligence and skills and are less likely to believe that family wealth plays a key role in getting ahead. 

NYTs opinion article purporting to refute the American concept if not ideal of a meritocracy. 

Supposedly the system is rigged because the successful among us want the same for their children; move to areas with good schools, pay for college, etc. The assumption seems to be all this is possible because of passing down of family wealth and not personal effort, skill, hard work, overcoming obstacles, etc. 

Do you buy into that theory?

I know a lot of people who do or try to do all those things, and yet none of them have family wealth. What they do have is the drive and attitude to do better. They get an education no matter what, they work hard. They find a way long before giving up. And yes, they are rewarded for their skills and accomplishments and you don’t have to be a genius to be successful. 

We seem to be in a era of excuses for everything. Are things really that different?


Categories: Observations on life

2 replies »

  1. Do I believe that family wealth determines if you get ahead? No, I do not. It may give debt free opportunities that others may not get but once again it is how you take advantage of those opportunities that determines if you get ahead. If you are a privileged spoiled rich kid, you could easily be doing drugs just like the inner city kids.

    And what is meant by getting ahead? Being on a corporate board of directors or president and CEO of a two man lawn cutting service? Is it defined by how much money you have in the bank or how much time you can spend with your family?

    Every American gets the same opportunities. A free public school education and a chance to join the military. If you choose the right field in the military you can learn a trade or put money away for college while learning supervisory skills. I saw a lot of good mentors while I was in the service which probably determines more if you will be successful.

    Is success working 50-60 hour weeks like doctors and lawyers or 35 hours in a clerk government job?

    Every American also gets the same chance to fail. They can choose to hang out on the street corners or partying in a bar with no plans for the future. We as parents and educators do a poor job in guiding our children for the future. It is rare that a teenager knows what he wants to do and it is hard to guide him to make choices in high school to put him on track for those goals. We just tell them they can be anything they want.

    We also fail at teaching fiscal responsibilities. Government policies encourages fiscal irresponsibility by encouraging everybody to go to college and take on debt, buying big houses and taking on debt, and encouraging consumer spending to drive the economy, by taking on debt.

    So what is success? Is it being debt free and not depending on the government, being your own boss cutting grass, or being a doctor with a half million in debt and working 60 hour weeks?

    To me, success is if you are happy where you are. To me, if a person does not think they are successful, then they should do something about it, but most don’t do a thing about it because they think that the government should give them success. Politicians argue that the rich are privileged and that they should take everything away from the rich and give it to the poor including their success just because the rich knew what they wanted in life and worked for it.

    To answer the question, I got exactly where I am because I earned it. I consider myself successful. I started working in high school in a work co-op program because my parents got divorced. Now I am going to retire at age 55. Along the way I earned several occupational licenses and my college degree, volunteered in my community and served in the NJ Air National Guard. I did work 50+ hour weeks at my job too so I did the work. I am successful that I do not have to work for pay anymore. I will continue to do something. Stopping would kill me, because I do the work.


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