So here is a question you need to ponder more often…. Not just “what is the hand I have been dealt in life?” but the extension of that question, which is:
“How well am I playing the hand I have been dealt?”
This, to me, is much more important to think about and do your best to maximize. There is almost nothing you can do to change the circumstances you were born into, but there is A LOT you can do to play the hand you have better. You can even change the cards in some cases. Lots of people before you have done it, so why not you? Some people are great examples of this…
Have you ever looked into the background of many of the people who end up sponsoring the Boys & Girls Clubs facilities? Living in Phoenix, there are a bunch of them around, serving the Valley in places of need. These clubs fill the gap that working parents can’t, such as after school programs, meals, etc. These are usually found in areas of lower income and fill a vital role in keeping kids safe and off the streets. Many of the sponsors of these facilities have donated $5 million or more to make these services available to the community. Wanna know why? Because the people who donate the money grew in poor areas themselves, and went to the Boys & Girls Club as kids. They credit this organization for the place they are in life today.
Think about that, and how it relates to the paragraph above. Here is a group of people who are now owners of very successful companies, multi-millionaires, who started out with humble beginnings. Do you think that was the hand that wanted to be dealt? No way. But they took action to change the cards that they were dealt and slowly changed things to their favor. For example, the owner of Swift Transportation was not born into a rich family and had things handed to him. In fact, it was the opposite. Yes, there are people who have this story in life, but there are MANY who do not.
Do you know how many millionaires are first generation millionaires in this country? 80%!
Yes, that was not a typo and yes you read that correctly. This is called the land of opportunity for a reason. Let me say it one more time so you read it again and wrap your head around it. Eighty percent of millionaires in the U.S. are first generation millionaires. But don’t get it twisted, you don’t have to become a millionaire to be successful. You can fall far short of that and still be proud. To quote the golfing great Johnny Miller:
“A person should be measured not by what they achieve but what they overcome.”
I think this aligns very nicely with the rest of this blog. The theme here is that you shouldn’t look around and think your environment now will dictate the rest of your life. It only does if you allow it to. That is the key piece to keep in mind. You have way more control than you may realize. You are capable of amazing things when you put your mind to it. Sometimes you can light a fire inside you and really go for it; other times life backs you into a corner and you have no choice but to grab your helmet and jump into the fray. Either way, you can do it. And I’m going to add this thought to it…
It’s your JOB to play the hand you’ve been dealt to the best of your ability.
You read that right (again). If you don’t, think of the consequences. What will your life be like if you proverbially “lie down and take it”? Remember, it’s not where you start but where you finish that counts. Life is a wonderful journey that should be savored and enjoyed along the way, with the right amount of struggles and challenges sprinkled in for good measure. Go back to school, apply for that job, ask that person out….all of it is within your reach if you just take the first step. Change your circumstances, improve your life, and take others along for the ride whenever possible. THAT will help lead you to a happier life.