In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticising anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”F. Scott Fitzgerald – “The Great Gatsby” (Chapter 1)
Wealth – and the plethora of options wealth opens affords you – is the one advantage which draws the most attention to itself. It’s fitting then, that when we think of those who have had advantages in life, we not only think of the wealthy first, we think of them last as well.
And it’s a shame, really.
Because unless we have lived truly wretched lives, then we have experienced far more advantages than those who have only known wealth.
To be envious or disdainful of the wealthy, and not see the pot of gold we’re sitting on if we have known a genuine friend just once, or had a parent who loved us unconditionally, or had the blind luck to be born into a (however fractured) democracy, or have found personal meaning and fulfilment in something we’re pretty good at or that we just like doing anyway…
Well, all I’m saying is take inventory. Monetary wealth is just one of the myriad of ways you can be advantaged in life. And once you start to give just a little bit of thought to all the other, far superior, far more meaningful ways, you’ll actually start to pity those whose only advantage is money.
Far from wishing you had had their start in life, you’ll see them for what they truly are – the saddest and lowest amongst us.