Must’ve been clever, must’ve worked hard

I was recently in a gorgeous Elizabethan house and overhead a few couples exclaiming just how clever the owner must have been to accumulate such wealth. Not to take away from shrewd business decision making, but we might all be better off by recognising the value of expert help. Of teams of experts. And luck.

Stunning estates and great organisations aren’t the work of one incredibly clever and hard-working person. Indeed, an incredibly clever and hard-working person isn’t assured notable ‘success’.

By accident of location, timing, inheritance, and networking, an individual can be given major advantage or overcome major disadvantage. It’s not a level playing field and it’s never going to be.

We can make it more level – and we should.

Let’s start by dispelling the myth that hard work and cleverness are the pre-requisites and main contributors to success. They play a part, certainly, but no more than that.

To increase our personal chances, we must keep growing and position ourselves to meet opportunity. To help others, can we present opportunity where it might not normally be found? Where there is creativity and contribution waiting for good fortune to knock on the door?

Diversity and inclusivity isn’t a politically correct agenda, it’s a path to a better opportunity for everyone – not just the fortunate.

I appreciate a beautiful estate. I’d be happier still in a more beautiful society.

Let’s keep growing.

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