2017-02-24

No, Privilege Is Not Inspirational !

Privilege: a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

We all know what "privilege" is, those of us who are not able to define it in words, have felt it or seen it at least once in their life, unless, of course, you are the privileged one, then chances are you think everybody has it easy the same way you do, and you feel like you should always tell people that their dreams at the grasp of their hand and all they need to do is reach out and grab them.




It's a fact of life that some of us are born having won the geographic lottery or the genetic lottery or just the plain old lottery and I am perfectly fine with that. After all, like the song goes: "it takes every kind of people, to make the world go around".
I come from a blue collar family, and while growing up, I did not need too much effort to quickly grasp the complex yet straightforward circumstances that made it easier for our more privileged peer to cruise all the way to success a highway paved just for them.
Hell,
I even drew you a diagram if you are curious enough  (and if that still doesn't help here's an excellent illustration done by Toby Morris).

More recently, all I seem to see around me is a sprout of inspirational con artists shoveling so much bullshit down the throats of youth in an institutionalized manner under the guises of Entrepreneurship, Mentoring, Fast tracking, Accelerating and Incubating.

So here are a few things you need to keep in mind whenever you see a Linkedin/Facebook/Twitter (et al) posts inviting you to come get inspired by someone:

  • Most of the so-called successful (local) entrepreneurs you see around you come from wealthy and privileged families. They can afford to bootstrap their company while pursuing the "passion that makes them jump out of bed every morning" because their personal lives are secure in the knowledge that in the worst case scenario, family is going to bail them out.
  • The names you see on billboards of workshops often held on beanbags in venues intentionally made to look like shelters from the 1980s and promising insights into success are mostly 2nd or 3rd generation heirs to successful businesses. They will tell you perhaps what they do in their daily life to maintain their success but they can never tell you how to get there, simply because "there" is where they have always been.
  • The friendly patrons of young ideas that swarm the panels at all the regional conferences are simply businessmen. They may talk a sweet game and tell you all the things you want to hear but make no mistake they are here because they see an opportunity to grow their capital, that opportunity is you and your desire to pull in long hours for free. They could care less how their money doubles or how you repay that guaranteed loan if your business fails. So treat them as business partners not as Angels! #btw do you know who else started off as an angel?
  • When it comes to peers or youngsters from your same generation, who always brag about their first business they made and sold as a teenager and which was a blast, the rule of thumb here is this, if you have never heard of that company and how successful it was, then it was not. The cookie shop, the beads creations and the e-man2ouche are just adolescent dreams paid by mom and dad so you actually play entrepreneur instead of tennis (especially if you have zero game) and so you  don't get into trouble hanging with the wrong crowd in the real world.
No, privileged people flaunting their skills is not inspirational. What's inspirational are the various creative and ingenious ways that a manual laborer, a craftsman or a small-time shop owner can come up with to make ends meet, to pay for their kids' school, or to settle a tax imposed by a state, that much like all the organizers of all those conferences, only feels inspired by the achievements of the privileged while trampling on the average joe.

In the midst of all the self-congratulatory crowds who always hang out at the same events, all know each other, and all attribute prizes to each other, there is a very fine line that you need to walk where you balance your expectations with your income, your family situation and the desire you have deep down to change your current situation or simply... not.

Remember, you are not obliged to be a millionaire just because everyone says you do. You are not obliged to change the world because a picture of a blurred landscape with nice typography instructed you to do so.

 Your only obligation is to yourself, your only obligation is to be happy and content in the life you lead, in spite of all the naysayers and the yes-men, and to know that one day you can look back and say "screw that shit, this is just fine and I am feeling good"