People with advantages do have it easier, and there is nothing wrong about that. Advantages bring success when used properly. Every success brings more advantages, allowing for even more success. That’s what parents are supposed to do for their children--to give them the advantages of an education--both formal and informal, a belief in themselves, and a safety net to catch them and throw them back into the fray as failures occur—and they will.
I made a comment in one of my recent posts about winners--meaning those with a positive attitude and termination. What I said was, “winners without advantages will beat losers with advantages almost every time”. I was encouraging ‘positivity’, something that isn’t always easy to have when you are constantly swimming upstream, but necessary if you desire to reach your goal.
Surprisingly, I was admonished for saying that by some men who also blog about being dads. One said this,
“Tell my dad that a winning attitude made him a winner as he cleaned human feces off of bathroom walls because the men he worked for despised him based only on his phenotype.”
This man continues,
“A winning attitude in life can change a lot of things but there are some things, many things, that will require much more than a smile and happy-go-lucky demeanor to bring change. There are many whose voices we will never hear, who had winning attitudes but were eventually beat down by life and a system meant to keep them from achieving their best. Tell those people not to take a handout when they've no hope left. If you've never been truly hopeless, I have a hard time hearing you tell people to have a winning attitude. If you have... I mean truly hopeless and spent time in that place where you thought it would never end... preach on.”
You know what? I have also washed feces off bathroom walls as a young man. It’s an honest, if not desirable, job which allowed me to earn money as I was attending high school. That job was an early step in my journey to succeed.
I have to admit, I had to look up “phenotype”. I think the writer means his father was a minority. I admit I did not have this burden. People who despise others, only for their phenotype or race, are disgusting, heartless, reprobates (look it up)! Those people are out there in every size, shape, and color. You can’t let them be the focus of your life. The burden for minorities is greater in some circumstances, and certainly so in years past. However, in the western world, there a very few healthy individuals who are actually in a position to have “no hope left”.
This gentleman said a winning attitude doesn’t help when we have a “system meant to keep them from achieving their best”? I’m not sure which system he is suggesting that would do this in 2014, but there are also systems which are designed to help the disadvantaged. One system, that helped me, gave college scholarships to economically disadvantaged students. Who, by the way, usually had to have winning attitudes to be in a position to get those scholarships.
Another comment I received:
“A winning attitude? That's the key?? Not more money for education, not police unfairly targeting minorities, or the proliferation of guns in this country?
More money for education will do NOTHING until more parents get involved and more students buckle down. The US already spends more per capita towards education than any other country, but we are far down in world rankings of educational achievement. Even the children of Viet Nam beat American students in educational achievement. Why is it that Asian youths in our own country do so much better than children of other races? Because education is emphasized in their families.
Police unfairly targeting minorities? Yes, unfortunately it happens. But it is not near as prevalent or irresponsible as some would have you believe, especially in 2014. Minorities targeting themselves through gangs and drug use is a much larger problem and contributes to their having a light shone upon them by law enforcement.
Proliferation of guns? My question is who has illegal guns? Not people with winning attitudes!
These two men who responded to me have a very negative view of life’s possibilities. I’m sure they believe what they say and there is some modicum of truth to it. Life is certainly not fair, but there are ways to tilt it in your favor. The notion of a winning attitude is ‘Pollyanna’ if you take little or no action. It’s real if you add determination and will power.
In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill named thirty-one major causes of failure. Let me name a few.
· Lack of a well-defined purpose in life.
· Lack of ambition
· Insufficient education
· Lack of self-discipline
· Lack of persistence
· Inability to cooperate with others
· Possession of power that was not acquired through self-effort
Of all the thirty-one reasons for failure, only one could not be "easily corrected" by any individual. That reason was “unfavorable hereditary background”. He did not mean race or national origin, he meant those with a “deficiency in brain power”.
If you wait for advantages to come your way or fret that others have them, if you blame others for your fate, if you constantly say, “it’s not in the cards for me”, if you are cheated, deceived, or overlooked and agonize over it, YOU LOSE!
Take any reason for failure that exists in you, outside of “a deficiency in brain power”, and add ambition, education, self-discipline, persistence, and cooperation, while not depending on others, then you will be a success by your very nature! One of the best advantages anyone can have is a positive attitude--and the most effective advantages are those you create for yourself!
These are lessons that parents should live by and teach to their children.