In July, I discussed the function of success. Today, I’ll tackle the much more complicated and strongly debated function of opportunity.
In order to truly be successful, we need two things: resources, and information about those resources. One without the other is worthless; you have resources and don’t know about them, or your look for resources but none exist.
The levels of both resources and information vary across many different aspects. These aspects can include geographical location, quality of education, and demographic information (such as gender and race). I would say, focusing it down, that the broad key aspects for individuals regarding the function of opportunity is regarding the birth of the individual; the genetic affects, the state of family, and the location of the family. Once you’re out and about, you can alter your resources and information pretty well. Much of your ability to alter, however, depends on these birth characteristics.
Let me give an example. Let’s say that we have a person who lives in a low income situation within a first world country. If the family is supportive, and the person is of non-minority status, then it is going to be fairly easy for them to obtain resources and information; they have three out of the four key aspects in check. However, if you flip that: a person in a high income situation, within a third world country, with an unsupportive family and a minority status… they still have a pretty good shot.
This is why I mentioned why the function of opportunity isn’t quite as clear as the function of success. When we look at the function of success, we can look at our four key values — passions, strengths, demands, and growth — weigh them fairly equally, and say you can go after them all and find a good fit. Not such an easy case with the function of opportunity. The balance of resources and information are a pretty difficult battle that bureaucrats, activists, aristocrats, and many others have waged for practically millenia. So, needless to say, a single blog post isn’t going to quite give a good answer on this.
There is, however, a tie-in here. A missing link called “mindset”. A person can theoretically fail in every birth factor category, yet by some miracle have a strong mindset that makes them seek out resources and information all to themselves. This key mindset factor is something that I’ve struggled with previously, but I believe it’s a big key to this puzzle. If you can solve the mindset problem, you can lead people to opportunity.
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