Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Congratulations on Winning the Human Lottery

If you are able to read this, congratulations. You are one of the luckiest people on earth.


Well, first you can read English.

This means that you were either born in an English speaking country (For the most part very good places to be born in) or you had excellent English schooling in another part of the world.

In either case, knowing this language gives you a huge advantage in a world where this tongue is the language of trade, business and technology.

Speaking of technology, you have a computer. You found this blog online which means you can access the internet as well.

Whatever device you have (a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet) you possess a window that allows you to access a wealth of information. You can connect with people not just in your town but with hundreds of others around the world.

You have the ability to find information in the information age.

That is no small thing.

Neither is the time you have spent reading these words. Time is precious and fortunately you can spend some of it reading things online.

You don't have to spend most if not all of your day trying to scratch out a living in the Sahel during a drought.

You don't have to spend twelve to twenty hours a day in a mine-shaft searching for a valuable resource that will earn you a fraction of what you need to feed your family.

You have the luxury of free time, even if that is just five or ten minutes of fooling around on the net between reports in your office.

These are not small things; These luxuries you have.

I'm sure you realize that. Maybe you worked hard for them.

At the same time though, you were also very lucky.

Perhaps, you were born into a middle class home in the West. Maybe your parents were business owners or middle managers at a firm in Asia, Africa or somewhere else. Maybe you were born into worse socioeconomic circumstances but were fortunate to find a scholarship that would pay your way to a new life.

You not only had universities and colleges that you could attend but you had or could find the finances to go to them.

You saw people with an education around you. People you admired and who knew the value of learning.

Not everything is a picnic of course. You've had your low points and struggles. Everyone does. Your journey has been hard.

But it could have been a lot, lot harder had you been born in the poorest district of Mumbai or a Palestinian refugee camp. You would not be where you are and who you are today if you were born in a different place, to a different class at a different time in history.

But you weren't and that has given you a great advantage over a large portion of the world.

Wealth and personal success are not the inevitable result of hard work. A lack of wealth and a life of poverty are not a sign that a person is lazy or earned their poverty.

No one earns their birth. No one chooses where they come into the world.

You, I and the people reading this just won the Human Lottery.