Two four letter words are increasingly absent from today’s discussion of America’s economic future because their use is considered by some to be discriminatory, demeaning, insensitive, divisive or degrading.
Those two words?
While there seems to be no shortage of debate regarding income inequality, the same cannot be said for effort inequality. Perhaps it’s because in this age of runaway political correctness, expectations of hard work as a prerequisite for advancement has become, let’s say, a delicate topic.
The same mentality that converted dodgeball from a super-fun schoolyard game to a punishable offense can also be detected where the pursuit of personal success is considered a character flaw, both resulting from a belief that any type of competition that produces winners and losers is an undesirable throwback to a less enlightened age.
At the furthest end of this utopic daydream, the very notion of work for compensation is perceived as (you can’t make this stuff up) a “micro-aggression” by insensitive, greedy employers intent on taking advantage of America’s supposed lower class of laborers. Do such scenarios exist? No doubt.
Are they the majority? No way.
Nonetheless, such accusations of greed and corporate vice provide the perfect backdrop to the argument for income inequality, that those who have are the enemy of those in need. If the goal is to cast blame for one’s social or economic plight, comparing incomes is an appealing narrative. But if one is determined to thrive and succeed, comparing effort is the way to go.
Abraham Lincoln phrased it this way, “You don’t make a weak man strong by making a strong man weak.” Success is about hard work. Always was. Always will be. Talking about income inequality without equal consideration of effort inequality is a dead end destination for the victimized. Alternatively, the open highway of opportunity and prosperity is accessible to ANYONE willing to covet another’s effort rather than their income.
On any given day it is effort, not victimization, that provides a pathway anyone can follow to anywhere they choose, for as long as their effort endures. In an imaginary world where obstacles to success did not exist, effort would still be necessary to maintain momentum. In this world, where MANY obstacles to success exist, including inequality, effort is all the more necessary.
Deepak Chopra writes, “A mind filled with judgment, blame, and anger has trained the brain to favor those pathways.” In the same way, a mind filled with determination and perseverance trains the brain to favor those pathways.
Herein lies the lesson that we as parents, teachers, leaders, business owners and employers can impress upon those at the crossroads of choice.
We can fill our minds with belief in ourselves and celebrate our days in gratitude. Or we can fill our minds with resentment for others, and suffer our days in the dark.
Executive Health and Performance Coach Billy Sheehan partners with time-challenged professionals to reengineer the relationship between their personal health and professional careers. The resulting balance creates the optimal environment for achieving the highest levels of long-term success.
Learn more at www.billythecoach.com