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  • Writer's pictureDora Nudelman

The Perils of Living in a “Must Be Nice” Society

I never really understood the mentality that some people have in believing that they are limited in what they can be, do, or have just because someone else is already experiencing it. I also never really understood the ideology around punishing, ridiculing, or vilifying people for having money or for being successful. If anything, I would think that those who are successful would be a great example to others, an inspiration, and an encouragement in the knowing that anything is truly possible. But, instead, angry mobs gather to protest the wealthy, governments practically take half of earnings and single out “luxury items” to penalize those who can afford it, and, in what can only be described as socialist behavior, people cry out for the “equal distribution of wealth,” regardless of any merit or effort being considered.

Other than sheer envy, I simply cannot think of any reason why someone would be so upset at the fact that someone else has achieved a certain level of success. Moreover, I don't understand how people can justifiably go on to judge other people as being inherently underserving of what they have without actually knowing anything about them or what it might have taken for them to get to where they are today.

We cannot just assume that those in positions of wealth and success are automatically evil, greedy, corrupt, selfish, or self-important, just like we cannot label underprivileged people as being undeniably lazy, entitled, or apathetic.

Think about it, what incentive would anyone have to make any effort to succeed if they know that ultimately they will be vilified and penalized for it in the end? I mean, why would anyone make any strides towards success if they know that by working harder (or preferably smarter) they will simply have to give more of their money away, and then subject themselves to public scrutiny solely over the basis of their own achievements? No wonder so many people are excited over the prospect of universal basic income. Not that there is something inherently wrong with giving people a leg up; just that if we take all incentives away from people to actually want to try, unfortunately there might be some who will take advantage of that victim mentality and, sadly, this will occur at the expense of those who actually take the time, make the effort, and take the actions needed to help themselves.

But I believe that there is a solution and that this solution is quite simple: Self-empowerment. Meaning, the more that we take responsibility for our own circumstances, the more empowered we will feel and be to create the life of our choosing, no matter where we come from or the challenges we’ve faced. And the more that we can focus on what we can do for ourselves to advance in our own lives (in the most authentic of ways), rather than pointing the finger at others, the easier and faster we will arrive to our own version of what success looks and feels like.

We have to look at others who have already achieved what we want as something to look up to, not resent. We need to realize that there is enough to go around and that there are no real limits to our resources other than the limits that we impose on ourselves through our own beliefs in lack. We need to realize that we are just as capable as anyone else of succeeding. And we need to realize that there is often so much more to the story than just the shallow judgments we like to impose on other people simply for the fact that they are outwardly wealthy and successful.

Mostly, we need to realize that if we want to achieve something in our own lives, or change something that we do not like, nothing that anyone else has or does is going to be able to stop that. Understand that no one can be wealthy enough to prevent you from achieving your dreams, and that others being poorer is not going to help you get any richer. The fact of the matter is, handouts can only go so far. As such, true success does not depend on anything or anyone outside of you. Rather, it depends on what you personally believe is possible for yourself. And if you learn to have the right mindset, and take ownership of your own actions (or inactions), then you will have all of the necessary tools to be successful in any way that you define success for yourself (no matter what’s going on around you).

Bottom line: We cannot punish people for being resilient, tenacious, responsible, ambitious, and willing to take the risk to be successful in their own right. For, if we do, what are we really saying about ourselves?

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