This old adage popped into my head years ago when I was pondering two of our students. One was the son of a nationally prominent entertainer. The other was a scholarship student from an impoverished background. Upon first glance, it appeared that these kids had nothing in common. Then it dawned on me, they indeed shared one critical feature in common:
They both had the same amount of say in selecting their parents…… No say whatsoever.
So, if you were born into privilege, you need to play your stroke of luck to maximum advantage. (And I see it as my job to get you to commit to the idea that you will not be the sole beneficiary of whatever positive outcomes you produce.)
Conversely, if you were born into relative disadvantage, you cannot sit around feeling sorry for yourself. And before you think you’ve got no hand at all, consider what I tell our students each year: “As far as I’m concerned, each and every one of you is on scholarship…..full scholarship, in fact. The only difference is who’s paying for it. If you’re sitting here, you were able to get someone – your parents, a relative, the school, etc. – to pay a lot of money for you to go to high school. There are millions of kids who would change places with you in a second.”
Years ago, I met with a highly successful entrepreneur/businessman. As his life was an inspiring rags-to-riches story, I could not resist asking him to divulge the secret of his success. He didn’t hesitate:
“I had two major advantages. One, I was raised by a mother and father who loved me deeply. Two, I was born in the United States of America.”
Suffice it to say that I had been looking for something a bit more unique and profound. Come to think of it, he gave me something more profound than I was ready to handle. (Particularly after it dawned on me that I too was the beneficiary of both advantages.)
So, take a good look at your hand. Play your cards to the hilt. Regardless of what you’re holding or how it plays out, it will do you no good to blame the dealer.
Onward, Malcolm Gauld