This is a tough one and I am sure many readers of liberal newspapers will get all agitated at my simplistic view. Well they would if anyone actually read my stuff. I was listening to the radio today with people railing that ‘the system’ has let them down. This got me thinking about people who blame the system, discrimination, lack of education, or being from the wrong class or bad teachers or the wrong upbringing for all their ills. They cry that there are no jobs and no opportunities if you come from the wrong background or if you don’t get the right marks in school. They cry that they should be respected and given equal opportunities. They want their ‘rights’. I wrote about this the other day in a different way. This time I am going to examine those who feel the system is against them or that they are being held back by rules or upbringing or education, colour, race, size, shape, sex or anything you care to mention.
Clearly I have no knowledge or experience of the truly deprived in the sinkholes of society so this is aimed at those who should aspire to some sort of normality or those who operate somewhere near the fringes of society and should actually be able to join in properly.
In my humble opinion, in most cases, nothing is holding anyone back but themselves. There I have said it! Of course there is genuine hardship out there and people who don’t get the same opportunities as others. Well guess what? That is never going to change so lets look at what we have got for those who feel they are unable to get anywhere because they blame things put in their path by ‘others’.
My Grandmother washed the family laundry in a stream. My father had no education to speak of. My mother was a teacher and a housewife. Mum taught me to read from an early age. All mothers can do this for their children. If your child can read they can start to learn and make their own decisions about what life is about. I gave up on school early on and paid no attention for my entire education. I didn’t study. I didn’t learn, I didn’t listen. I was asked to leave School in my final year and had few qualifications to do anything.
My mum felt my life was over before it even began. Luckily I could read, count and spell a bit. I joined the Army.
This is not about me though. I look at people who say they can’t get work. You have to wonder who they are asking as I know many people who can’t get staff. Sometimes it is that they can’t find anyone to do a job but often the standard of those who ask for employment is woefully poor. I have heard about people sending off dozens of letters of application and getting nowhere. I would like to see what those letters look like. What effort has gone into setting the sender apart from the others? I hear of people who never get past a job interview. I have seen what they wear or how they speak and look and I know why they don’t. I know people who blame lack of opportunity on being the wrong colour. I also know many people who have cracked on despite the colour of their skin. The President of the USA is a good example, but I have had plenty of peers of a different hue.
I know people who feel that business is sexist. I am sure it is, but I also know many successful Women who somehow defied this attitude and got on by being good at their jobs.
I watch the Anarchists and protesters on TV wanting to bring down the system. I have a little secret for you. Things need to be run by a system otherwise it is chaos. Even their ridiculous anarchist meetings will follow some sort of order. Notice how almost all violent protesters, the breakers of other people’s property, are young people. Young people have been protesting and creating havoc for those in charge since the dawn of the written word. They have got precisely nowhere doing it. For all the success the balaclava clad hoodlums have had they might as well just stand there with a shouty sign telling us what is on their minds. Save yourself a beating and a prison record because you will fail, you always have and always will. One day they all grow up a bit and realise it was all rubbish and pointless.
It is important to be able to voice your concerns and support your issues and causes, the right to protest must be protected of course but getting all violent and rambunctious just sets the peaceful against you and demeans the cause. The fact that the violent can’t see this just shows how ridiculously small-minded they are. These people should blame themselves for being so stupid, but sadly they will blame everyone else.
Lets have a look at the successful revolutions shall we. The current nonsense in the Middle East doesn’t count as while some countries have successfully ousted those in charge. It is only a matter of time before someone worse emerges to take their place. The Arab spring is just a reshuffle of tyranny in progress. The Russians overthrew the Czar and got a significantly worse result than what they started with. The Communists being in charge and causing the deaths of tens of millions of innocent Russians. So that went well. The French overturned the Aristocracy and ended up with a President. Surely same, in fact more, power, different name?
Any other successful revolutions you can think of? No? Thought not. Those that want to blame the system for their failures should start thinking about themselves instead. If you have poor parents then don’t be one yourself when your time comes, Surely you can see that, if not, don’t have kids. I am not going to talk about my childhood but I could easily blame lots of things on things that happened. I am not going to though. I just tried to make the best of my very limited talents and opportunities. I have never known anyone who could influence my career by having a word in a chums ear. I had no qualifications. I have neither good looks nor any great ability. I have used my wits to make the best of what I found before me and anyone can do that. If you set out ready to fail because you have your back up plan of blaming a handful of causes on your horizon, you surely will.
If you want a job, apply for jobs you can actually do and approach the company as though you will be an asset rather than a liability, simple.
If you are someone who thinks you are rubbish at everything, I would venture that you maybe rubbish at plenty of things but everyone I have ever met is good at something. Accentuate the positive, play to your strengths. If you are struggling at school and aren’t academic, then get a trade instead. You don’t have to go to University to get on. There are literally thousands of kids wasting their time getting a pointless degree because they think it’s the thing to do. For some it is, for some it isn’t, have a quick look and figure out which one of those you are. I was just having a think about my own family. Of my parents, their brothers and sisters and their children. That amounts to 24 people, all happy in their own way, most variously successful in a variety of lifestyle choices and careers. Of that 24 just 3 have a University degree. One is a Marine Biologist, one a Lecturer, one a Lawyer. Of the others their lives range from missionary, housewife, farmer, banker, mortgage broker, a couple of designers, a gardener, a real estate agent, a motelier and so on. Normal people having normal lives.
If you walk around ready to blame your shortcomings on someone elses prejudice you will have a miserable life. It is all very well to reach for the stars but start with what you have and move one step at a time. If you don’t get what that means you are going to struggle. I left school with few qualifications but I knew I wasnt stupid. I spent some time in the Army, but wanted to live in the real world. I couldn’t just pitch up to anyone and demand a job though as I had nothing to offer. So I started in a mundane job. I showed I was better than the next mundane job holder and progressed from there.
There is a great little story about two explorers out in the wilds of India. One asked, what if they met a Tiger. The other responded that he had bought some running shoes just in case. “But you can’t out run a Tiger” his mate said. “No, but I will be able to outrun you” he replied. Life is a bit like that. If you are not fortunate enough to be extremely clever, handsome, talented, pretty, witty and able, then just try to be a bit better, clever, more able, hard-working, conscientious etc, than those in your peer group, be slightly better than the average, make a new average the next bench mark and be better than that. Little steps to standing out.
I am firmly of the belief that you can be whatever you want to be, within reason, clearly someone who cannot hold a tune should not aspire to opera superstardom and so on. Teachers and parents will tell their kids and students that they can have whatever they want. But there is the small detail of actually working towards it rather than expecting it on a platter.Decide on a realistic path to your goal and set about it.
I left New Zealand in 1991 with a backpack, a rubbish cv, a one way ticket to Australia and $400 and I have had a varied and interesting life and career. I have never achieved great wealth or status because I know my own shortcomings.
My point is that if you constantly blame others for your own shortcomings rather than looking at yourself and just trying to be the best that you can be, whatever that might be, then you are blaming the wrong thing. It’s not the system, it’s you.