Is meritocracy a myth?

I was raised to believe that hard work and perseverance could get you anywhere. I've seen it in my parents lives and I've also seen it in me and my siblings lives as well. But of course there are shortcuts to everything; they're not always fair and don't always yield the results we want but they are there.

➡ Whether it's an internal referral to the company of your dreams, or something more large-scale like getting a top job with minimal effort because of who your father knows (i.e. nepotism).

For those who don't know, meritocracy is the belief that people get what they have solely based on their talents, effort and achievements rather than social status.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it assumes that we all start at base zero, which is obviously not true. The family you are born into and the environment you grow up in has a huge impact on what you have access to and the person you will become.

'Access' is a keyword here. What you have access to in life sets the tone for everything else.

I only say this because I think it's important to be honest with ourselves when we're having these types of conversations. To have empathy and humility when we look at ourselves and the kind of life we've had access to. Because it's so easy to get defensive when such a topic is brought up; some try to prove that they deserve everything they have, making assumptions that those who don't have are somehow lazier and less hard-working.

In all honesty you don't have to prove anything to anyone, you just have to be honest with yourself.

On the other hand, I'm not want to believe that people should succumb to their circumstances. I've seen too much from the people around me what determination to succeed can do for someone.

Ultimately I believe 3 things when it comes to this topic:

  • There's nothing wrong with accepting or having some form of help… because at the end of the day that 'help' can only get you so far; eventually people will want to see what you have to offer and that will rely solely on your talents and hard work

  • We all have a million and one reasons why we can't accomplish X goal… but we also have a million and one reasons why we can ⚡️

  • The idea of 'all things being equal' does not exist… because life & society don't exist in a vacuum. We all have privilege in one way or another.