We live in a stratified society: that is, one in which there are different socioeconomic classes. Membership in a certain socioeconomic class entitles you to certain privileges, with members of the higher classes naturally having more and better entitlements than the members of the lower classes. Given that fact, it is hardly surprising to discover that people are always trying to figure out how they can move from the lower socioeconomic classes, to the higher ones. And I have come to the conclusion that there are some five ways in which a person can move from one socioeconomic class to the next.
One straightforward way to move from one socioeconomic class to the next is through education. Actually, with the right level of education, you may be able to ‘skip’ some classes: thus making it possible for you to move from a very low socioeconomic class to a very high one, without having to go through the intermediate classes.
The second way in which you can move from one socioeconomic class to the next is through politics. If you can demonstrate good leadership skills within the political scene, you can get rewarded in a huge way.
The third way in which you can move from one socioeconomic class to the next is through marriage. There are many folks who have been known ‘to marry their way out of poverty’.
The fourth way in which you can move from one socioeconomic class to the next is through business. If you are truly good in trade, this can be a straightforward way to advance socioeconomically: especially if you are able to consistently reinvest your earnings, and to use your money effectively in improving your (and your family’s) standard of living.
The fifth way in which you can transition from one socioeconomic class to the next is through networking. If you are effective in your networking, you can soon have the connections to move from one class to the next. Don’t underestimate the power of ‘connections’. Thanks to the right connections, you can move – in less than a decade – from working at Walmart (and earning the rather modest Walmartone.com paychecks), to the point of being a truly big shot.
I have been thinking about political dynasties lately. In the just concluded (2016) US election season, we saw two representatives of eminent political dynasties trounced. First was Jeb Bush, scion of the Bush political dynasty, who was trounced in the Republican primaries. Then there was Hillary Clinton, of the Clinton Dynasty, who won the Democratic Party primaries, but then went on to lose the election to the Republican contender. The whole thing made me reflect about political dynasties: how they come into being, how they thrive, and how they end.
With respect to the question of how the political dynasties come into being, I think several factors are at play. Key among them is the fact that the members of the political dynasties who come later are able to leverage on the connections that were created by the members of their families who were there before them. You can’t underestimate the power of connections in the real world. Come to think of it, in my last blog post on the three types of people who tend to do well in life, I should have included a category for people with good connections – because connections matter a great deal.
With respect to the question of why political dynasties thrive, I think there are several factors at plays as well. Key among those is the fact that members of the political dynasties have the benefit of name-recognition, which helps them a great deal when starting out.
With respect to the question of how political dynasties end, I think the main factor at play there is resentment. At some point, the people start being resentful of the fact that members of certain families are dominating their affairs. You see, people have complex love-hate relationships with these dynasties. The relationships that people have with the political dynasties are, more or less, akin to the complex love-hate relationships that people have with their credit cards. Therefore, at some point, out of resentment, the people are bound to decide to bring the whole political dynasty thing to an end. This is probably what happened in the Clinton case. People have been splitting hairs trying to figure out why Hillary lost. I am of the view that the dynasty factor played a big part – where people were simply resentful of the fact that, by voting in Hillary, they would be creating a scenario where the presidency would be rotating within certain families. And therefore the people opted, for better or worse , to vote for someone who is not a member of the ‘system’ – just for the heck of it.
In the course of my life, I have interacted with many types of people. I have interacted with people who can only be termed as high achievers. I have also interacted with people who, for lack of a better word, can only be termed as ‘losers’. I have endeavored to figure out what the difference between the two groups of people is. I have endeavored to figure out which types of people tend to end up being losers in life. I have also endeavored to figure out which types of people tend to end up being high achievers. With regard to the latter endeavor, I have come to the conclusion that there are three types of people who tend to do well in life.
The first type of people who tend to do well in life is that of folks who are disciplined. I have seen people who have potential to be successful being dragged down by lack of discipline.
The second type of people who tend to do well in life is that of folks who have good (or at least decent) social skills. Now it is true that human beings are nasty by nature, but even then, one needs solid social skills to cope with people and their expectations. This is also where networking sills come into play. I have seen people miss out on fantastic opportunities due to lack of networking skills. Out of my appreciation for the importance of these sorts of skills, I have come up with an outreach program targeting county jail inmates. It is a program where the inmates are taught the soft skills they need to be successful and to stay out of trouble once their jail terms end.
The third type of people who tend to do well in life is that of folks who have the willingness to take risks. In life, you can’t achieve anything without taking risks: and this applies not just in your financial life, but also in your social life and in all other spheres of life.
It is important to notice that these three are not distinct groups of people. Rather, these are qualities, which you often find in one single person. To do well in life, one needs to be disciplined, to have decent social skills and at the same time to be willing to take risks.
Human beings are generally nasty. And this applies pretty much everywhere you go. Granted, you occasionally come across truly nice human beings. But these are usually very few and far apart. For the most part, human beings are nasty – and this is something that everyone who has dealt with human beings will aver to (Ignore the Daily Mail when it tells you otherwise). Against this background, a question arises as to whether it is possible to make human beings less nasty, or we just have to accept it as a fact that this is how human beings are, and we just have to live with it…
I have given careful thought to this question, and I have come to the conclusion that it is possible to make the human species less nasty.
The way to make human beings less nasty is by ensuring that the young ones, the kids of the species, are brought up in a kind way. We observe that the few people who are not nasty tend to be the folks who were brought up by kind parents, in a kind way. Most of the people were, however, brought up by relatively cruel parents, in a cruel way – and that is how they have ended up being nasty beings. This is why, for instance, if you were to start asking for help on a certain matter (a simple matter), you’d probably end up with folks who are unwilling to help you. That would be the case even if they are in a position to help you, and the help you are asking for really doesn’t take too much on their part.
You may, for instance, only be trying to understand how the Gap credit card works, or trying to get someone to help you apply for Gap credit card. Yet in spite of many people being conversant with these things, you discover that many don’t want to help you: simply because they have been brought up to be innately mean.
If we change the way in which we bring up our kids, it is possible to get a generation of human beings who will be less nasty. We need to re-evaluate certain practices: like the practice of shouting at kids, the practice of beating kids and so on. And if these things have to continue being done, at least they need to be done with love, not cruelty. The relative powerlessness of children must never be exploited to abuse them. Through these measures, we will have a chance to avoid regrets later in life on account of having brought up our kids in the best ways we could.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with an old man at a bench in a public park. The man told me that he is edging towards his 60th birthday. And as our conversation progressed, it became clear that he is a man who is struggling with lots of unresolved issues. It also became clear that he is a man who has lots of regrets. By the end of the conversation, I found myself meditating on the subject of regrets, and what one can do to avoid them.
It occurred to me that the main thing that the one needs to do, to avoid regrets in life, is to ensure that he or she utilizes the opportunities that come their way properly. This starts right from the childhood. In one’s early childhood, there is the opportunity to play with other kids. If one takes this opportunity seriously, he or she gets a chance to develop social skills that serve him or her well for the rest of life. Then comes the opportunity to acquire an education. If one takes this opportunity seriously, he or she is likely to have an easier life: given the fact that people who have solid educations tend to earn more, and to generally live better lives than those with more modest levels of education. For instance, the folks who receive regular and predictable paychecks through the Securitas paperless pay talx system, after going through the Securitasepay.com login page tend to be those who invested their time in getting solid educations.
The opportunity to start and nurture a family is another one that is not to be taken lightly. One the major regrets expressed by the old man I was talking to in the park was on account of not having nurtured a family when he had the opportunity to do so. And if many people are to be honest with you, they will tell you that their worst regrets are actually family-related. That is a common thread I see whenever I read the truly candid autobiographies (though, as I said in my last blog post, I have lately come to dislike autobiographies).
In the final analysis, if you get certain opportunities, and you do your best in taking advantage of them, then you won’t have any regrets in the future. You will know that you did your best – whatever the outcomes.
A few years back, I used to be an avid reader of autobiographies. There was actually a time when I had a target of ensuring that I read at least one autobiography per month. But as I read more and more autobiographies, I started to resent them. A point seems to have come where I’d rather read a work of fiction, rather than reading an autobiography. Even nowadays, in spite of living a rustic life (which gives me plenty of time to read), I still can’t get myself to start reading autobiographies again.
One of the key reasons as to why I have come to dislike autobiographies is in the fact that these books tend to be very highly sanitized. Thus, the picture you get after reading a given person’s autobiography is not the real picture.
Another key reason as to why I have come to dislike autobiographies is in the fact that important details are often omitted from these books. It is, for instance, often very hard to know exactly how the autobiography subject’s ‘big break’ came about. They do tell the truth, but it is often not the whole truth… Continue reading “Why I Have Come to Dislike Autobiographies”
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to life in several major cities. I have also had the opportunity to live in the countryside, you know, in the rural areas. I have come to the conclusion that rustic life is better than urban life. I back that assertion (to the effect that the rustic life is better than urban life) with several reasons.
Firstly, rustic life tends to have fewer pressures, compared to urban life. The people who live in the bigger cities have to deal with traffic jams. They also have to live with the pressures that come with living in high-rise apartments. Further, they have to deal with tight schedules, noise and lots of other unpleasant things. Come to think of it, it is the stress-free existence in a rural setting that has enable me to concentrate on my passion for poetry. – which was always hard when I lived in the major cities.
Secondly, the people in the rural areas tend to be much friendlier than the people in urban areas. This is actually why it is possible for people in the major cities to end up being ‘lonely’ — in spite of the sea of humanity around them. Continue reading “Why Rustic Life is Better Than Urban Life”
Why is it so hard to earn a living through poetry? This is a question I keep on asking myself, whenever I look at the options through which a poet can earn money. And it is against a background where I happen to be a reasonably talented poet — and where many of the people who know me keep on asking me how much money I earn through poetry. Whenever this question comes up in a discussion, I tend to blush and change the topic swiftly. I react that way because I am too ashamed to talk about the money I earn through poetry. If I was to be honest about it, the truth of the matter is that the amount of money I earn through poetry is pitiful. Peanuts. I have spent countless nights writing poetry – I am more of a night owl, as I told my readers in an earlier post. And after putting in so much effort, I have often ended up with money that is not even enough to finance my coffee habit. Continue reading “Earning a Living Through Poetry”
I confess that I am a night owl. This is to say that I am a person who prefers to stay awake late into the night, and then wake up late in the morning. My ideal daily program is one where I go to sleep by 4 Am, and wake up by 11 Am or 12 Pm. The opposite of a night owl is a morning bird: in which regard I have some friends who actually prefer to go to bed early, and then wake up early in the morning. These are the sorts of folks who would prefer to be in bed by 10 Pm, in order to arise by 4 Am or 5 Am.
Being a night owl has its advantages. But in today’s blog post, I will be focusing on the downsides to being a night owl. These are, in other words, the reasons as to why I sometimes wish that I was more of a morning bird kind of person. Continue reading “The Downside to Being a Night Owl”