The World Owes You Nothing
Before hanging up on me — think about it.
The roof on your head, the food in your mouth, the clothes on your body — all of that exists because of other people. You think you earned it through going to work every day? But even your workplace was created by someone else. You're a business owner? Your business would not exist if there were no customers or buyers to serve. The hardest work in the world is worthless without other people.
You think you’re a gifted musician? Some kind of other artist? Most likely someone in your family was too. Someone bought you your first guitar, piano, or pencil.
No one did? You earned it yourself by washing the dishes in a restaurant? Who gave you the job? Who paid you? Who had customers that enabled them to pay you?
And the talent itself? Was it in your genes? A gift from God? There must have been something that enabled you to do what you do.
Even the fact that you can use your body to play the instrument isn’t of your making. That body was given to you. You did nothing for it.
Not everything is the result of hard work
You’re good-looking and working as a model? You work long hours every day to accomplish your goal? What did you do to get that body?
Does that mean that all effort is worthless and that your success is not the result of hard work, long hours, and sacrifice? Yes, to a large extent that is true. You may be very talented, but if you don’t put in the work, someone else — not half as good as you — will outwork you.
What about the big American entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs? If they had been born in the Soviet Union, Africa, Latin America, most parts of Asia — none of that would have materialized. I dare to say that anywhere outside the U.S., their success would have been a fraction of what they have achieved.
Do you really believe that all talented people are exclusively born in the U.S.? All the Zuckerbergs, Dorseys, and Bezoses? No, the work of generations of people allows this to happen. Do you think a Polish Zuckerberg could build Facebook in a couple of years? There’s no capital and logistic infrastructure — support and mindset for doing business — in the world — like in the U.S.
If you’re lucky, you may start out with your idea somewhere abroad, but to have global success, you would eventually need to move your business to the U.S.
I don’t say it’s impossible, but almost impossible.
That’s not the point anyway. The point is that all of these people owe their success in great part to the country they’re born in.
But what about Alibaba founder Jack Ma? He wasn’t born in the U.S.! That doesn’t matter. Imagine how many doors must have been opened for him in order to succeed in a communist country. In countries like the former Soviet Union or Cuba, private ownership - let alone entrepreneurship - was virtually non-existent.
So in order to have a possibility and connection to achieve something like that — a lot of invisible faces had to step in to make it happen. That does not diminish the work of anyone, but it does put it into perspective.
You owe your life to other people
Any success, stands on many shoulders. Your looks, your intelligence, your birthplace, your parents, your school, your environment, war, and peace all play a vital part in what is going to happen in your life.
Take Michael Jackson for instance. The ultimate superstar. His whole persona falls to pieces if you move him to a third world country. Nothing would have happened. And I mean NOTHING. You would have never heard of him; as though he had never existed.
He was born into the right family, at the right time (because a few decades earlier his talent would have been worthless), in the right country.
All of that combined with an extraordinary work ethic — pushed through by his father — he managed to achieve what he did. All by himself? No, of course not — he owed it to all those people and circumstances around him. On top of that, he certainly put in the work, but would that work be worth anything without the right circumstances?
I’m not discounting anybody’s work, but the truth is, you owe your life to other people.
The bad stuff included. It’s easy to say, you just have to put in the work to succeed. Work will certainly help you advance, but you need the whole package to succeed extraordinarily.
One of the greatest artists of all time, the Italian all-round genius Michelangelo, if he were born into a Bedouin family in the Sahara, all he could have ever done is build sculptures out of sand for which no one would have ever known they existed.
Why is this important?
It’s good to know that you’re not entitled to anything. Why would you be entitled over someone else? Why should you get the looks and the riches and not someone else? What makes you deserve that over someone else? Your talents, your family, your circumstances, even your determination and will are the result of something that you copied from someone else.
Consciously or unconsciously you learned the science of determination. Someone or something must have fascinated you to copy it. Even that urge to copy it — came from someone else.
And even though you were put together from a million pieces that existed earlier — you are a new original. A unique human being who should always exercise great gratitude for everything you have. You never asked for it, and still you got it — for nothing.
When everything falls to pieces, your health, your relationships, any kind of great loss, even your life itself, you see all what had been given to you.