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WILLIAMS: We are not born equal
One of the founding principles of our great republic is stated in the first line, second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal ” The idea of equality governs our interactions and expectations.
The simple truth of the matter is that all men (or women) are not created equal. Because we are not all equivalent, there are certain facts that are unavoidable.
1) Some people are born with innate talents.
2) Some people are smarter than others.
3) Some people are born with more opportunities.
4) Some people have a greater drive to succeed.
However, we as humans living in America can overcome one of these inequities and not let the others limit ourselves.
Innate talents can be anything from artistic gifts to athletic prowess. Mozart was born with a gift for music. However, Mozart’s father pushed and pushed Mozart to practice and perform against his will. Despite his resistance and the eventual estrangement from his father, Mozart’s gift was honed and the joy of realizing the full potential of his talent gave us one of the most exalted composers in history. Mozart, and all others with inherent abilities, had to be pushed to become great — sometimes from within, and sometimes externally. Intrinsic aptitude can only get you so far; it cannot guarantee success.
We cannot control what talents we have, only that we must recognize and nurture them in others and ourselves. We all have something we can do well, but we were not all meant to be great athletes, artists or inventors. But by developing our own particular talents to their maximum, we can find success and happiness even without fame and fortune.
The second inequality is intelligence. Some folks think that brainpower is the key to success. I know plenty of brilliant poor people and dumb rich people. Smarts has nothing to do with it. Sure, brains give you an edge, but it is not the X factor of success. Dr. Ben Carson, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and Elon Musk are not prodigies. Albert Einstein was a genius, but you do not need to discover the secrets of the universe to make a better life for yourself.
What is more important is the willingness to learn and continue to seek knowledge. You can have a room-temperature IQ and learn how to start a business, provide a service, or create art.
We have all met people who were born on third and think they hit a triple, the old “silver spoon” syndrome. The wealth of their family gives them opportunities most can only dream of. Regardless of brains or talents, their chances of success are greater than most simply due to their greater access to resources.
However, silver spoons do not mean that happiness and prosperity are assured. Initiative to use those resources to become a success is needed. Too much time is wasted envying and vilifying such people. They had no control over being born into such a life. To fritter away time resenting them is like hating a tiger because it was born with stripes.
The final inequality is the drive to succeed. The fact of the matter is that it is the only inequality everyone can change. The talented flop without motivation, geniuses fail without inspiration, and the scions founder without ambition. The willingness to take risks is paramount to success. Sometime you will fail, but failure is how we learn to triumph. The only sure way to lose is to do nothing.
About the Author
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