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Politicians are telling us that we would be doing better if the system was fair. “The system is rigged” is a bipartisan theme this season. Through incompetence or malevolence or greed, the powerful few are supposed to be holding us down.
If you know us, you know we don’t spend a lot of time arguing politics. It is no surprise that any human endeavor has room for improvement. More pointedly, there are things about our society that are terribly unfair—including some things that are deeply rooted.
Each of the seven billion of us retain the ability to wake up each day and make the most of what we have to work with. Our resources may be few or many; our challenges may be petty or life-threatening; each one of us has our own story and our own situation. But we can each make the most of what we have to work with, day by day.
In key ways, YOU can rig the system in your favor. This thought was inspired by a list going around the internet, ‘Ten Things That Require Zero Talent.’ We can judge the merits of this list with a simple thought experiment.
Imagine that you are an employer, providing a valuable product or service to the rest of society. Among your employees there are two in particular you are considering for promotion and a good raise. One of them has all ten of these traits, the other has none of them. Here’s the short version of the list:
Being on time; having a good work ethic; putting in the effort, having positive body language; demonstrating energy, attitude and passion; being coachable and prepared.
So as you think about the free items on this list, which employee will you choose to promote? (Please accept our apologies for asking such a silly question with such an obvious answer.) The simple fact is that one employee rigged the system in his favor, and the other did not.
Our point is that each of us has considerable influence on our own destinies. In election season we discuss political and societal issues, we challenge things that need challenging and support things that deserve support. As we do so, let’s remember that our first job is to wake up each day and make the most of what we have to work with.