YOUR PATH IS YOUR ONLY PATH ATTAINABLE
UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, UNLESS...
(AND THERE IS NO FAULT IN YOU!)
When you begin life, you simply start where you start. Obviously, you have no choice in the matter.
And you get the parents you get and they give you what they give you, according to their level of awareness and knowledge.
You may start in a lower place than some others. That is just what is so. Period.
And it is fruitless to think that it should have been otherwise. It was just what is so. It was simply what it was.
The only thing that will change a path is the introduction of new knowledge from an outside source (which, hopefully, will be a result of this article). Lacking that, you are stuck on the same path, with no real choice about it. (See Free Will discussion in the side bar; it's different than you think!)
If that key bit of new knowledge is what convinces you to be on a path of learning new things, then the gradual upward path begins ongoingly with you, on purpose, bring in new forces(!) - and can lead to a marvelous life. Only new knowledge and information can change one's life - otherwise we just repeat what we know and do the same old thing! This is all simply a mechanical process - see The One Most Important Truth.
THE REALITY OF A PATH AND "THE NEXT STEP"
I could draw two paths that start at different places, paths that are wide apart at the end of childhood and then we could compare them. But what would be the point?
The lower path will probably remain lower... unless some new special element and accelerator is inserted. And even if that occurs, you will not make a quantum leap to another path. You will only start taking the next steps, one at a time, that will vary from your established pattern or trend. That is "physical" reality.
For instance, your path might look something like this:
x → ?
x x x x x ↘ ?
The x that drops lower is a result of a highly negative input of something that occurs - and it is out of your control. Such "stuff" happens - and it puts you on a lesser step in life. (But all is not lost!)
In any event, if you are at one of the steps in the path, you have only the choice of going to one of the next steps within your reach - and that step may be forward and up, level, or down depending on what occurred at the time and/or the level of knowledge you were at in order to be able to make a good choice or not. No miracles occur on the path and there is no magic. There is only taking the next step and then the next.
Now if you get some new information, you could then change your path because of the new knowledge that would allow you to make a better choice (or to be more skillful). But if you get no new information, you would have no knowledge that would tell you that it would be better to take a different step than you might ordinarily take (or you might not even be aware that such a step can be taken).
For instance, if you haven't gotten above the level of feeling inferior, you might not even have the confidence to take a better step - but you are not at fault for not having taken the better step. You are simply not yet at a higher level of knowledge that is sufficient to choose the better step. Only learning will fill that gap. (Duh!)
Another way of putting it is that every effect (step) is a result of a cause (doing what we can based on our knowledge limits). Effects don't magically appear!!! To get a different effect than the one we already know how to get we have to acquire the learning that enables us to get the new effect. In other words, we can (except by luck) only get to better results in life through learning - there is no other path, no miracle through "positive thinking" or "the secret". There is no other good choice but to ratchet up to a higher level and/or pace of learning.
THE PATH IS SELDOM ALTERED
Can a person who grew up in a ghetto in a "poor" culture all of a sudden jump up and start living life like other people who had a "higher level" start?
No, the person can't, given the level of knowledge he is at. He'll only possibly make a different choice if new and better information comes to him.
Charles Murray wrote a significant book based on his studies and entitled it Coming Apart: The State Of White America, 1960-2010. The focus on "white America" is a result of his being accused of racism. He wanted to make the point that it is the culture of any particular group, mostly in terms of poverty or wealth, tended to be passed on to the next generation. A simple truism (non-racial, non-class discriminatory). Interestingly, he did not escape criticism by doing this - in this book, in the lower evaluations of the book he was even accused of being ignorant and lacking empathy (by people who were not using critical thinking and/or were ignorant at no fault of their own) - oh, incidentally, you can spot lack of critical thinking by observing that there is name calling or put downs, plus exclaiming beliefs with passionate outrage, without basing it on any facts - but only on assertions that one's beliefs are "the truth".
Anyway, a person whose parents don't have alot of hope and who don't push for higher education will tend to do as he has learned. If he lives in a violent neighborhood and doesn't see alot of the real outside world or alot of good, in his perspective he will tend to do as the system seems to dictate. He can't be blamed for the knowledge he has AND that knowledge will tend to cause him to have a good chance of going to jail or to drop out of school.
Unless some new element is introduced into his knowledge, at a level that is understandable given his current knowledge, he will continue on the path he is on. And I do not hold him (or anyone) at fault for making bad choices within the limits of his knowledge, as he is simply doing the best he can given the limited knowledge. The big "duh!" here is that no one can possibly do better than he/she knows to do - but somehow people expect someone to do better than what is possible. [And that is due to their own lack of knowledge and perspective about this concept - and not realizing the truth of no fault and believing in pejorative (judgmental) good/bad and right/wrong.]
You cannot do that which you have not learned to do. (Duh! Of course!)
THIS DETERMINES YOUR LIFE
Each person is the automatic product of his/her
2) Inner Knowing (learning internalized so far in life), and
3) total life experience (i.e. inputs from which to make conclusions, limited to the ability to use logic and verify facts).
A person cannot possibly have "inner knowing" (or "learning so far") that is more than he has learned so far - and how much he has learned so far is based on the inputs he has received and processed by his previous level of learned knowledge and judgment - it's impossible to do better than that. Each prior level determines the next step - until there is some new information introduced by an outside source.
And in the case of you or the ghetto poor you are not at fault - as you or they could not have done any better without knowing better. Note that the key is always some outside person (or persons in concert) injecting new and useful information that will change that person's awareness such that he is better able to make good choices. [It is my mission to attempt to introduce and persuade with such information that you will make new choices, especially that choice of constant new learning that is necessary to propel you on a new path.]
And one thing you must learn to change your path is to stop using "it's not your fault" as an excuse. It's just a "what's so" statement.
The rest of the "what's so" is that you can choose to go from where you are and to do something about it such that you get more of what you want in life. That comes from "taking" responsibility - which actually is just realizing that you are the one and the only one who can most affect your life and to be "cause in the matter of your life". There is no one coming to your rescue in a true sense - so you need to not depend on that.
Choosing to be 100% responsible in your life is the essential key to creating a great life, without exception, except for miracles...
I know this sounds convoluted or complex. It is hard to explain quickly, I think. The concept is very simple and, once understood, very, very solid and logical.
A person simply cannot do better than he/she knows how at the time or at any point in his path! And no one is "at fault" for simply being the automatic result of each of the steps taken.
But...if that person can learn "responsibility" and then apply on-purpose learning, that person will be able to achieve magnificent strides forward in life - and be able to influence others toward doing that same thing. It is a "causal chain", where if we introduce positive changes as early as possible in the chain the whole chain will spiral upward.
The question is not "why am I so far behind where I should be?", but "do I have sufficient potential to tap into to make my life much better".
To this, I answer a resounding "Yes!!!"
That's the point. "I have plenty of untapped potential and the time to learn so that I can increase my capability (and knowledge) to fully appreciate my life and to drop those false beliefs that have me scared and stressed so that I can experience peace and satisfaction with live and have more of the ability to get more of what I want in life. Certainly. I have the tools of "ability to learn" (and I can even learn how to learn better), to think (and I have the ability to even learn how to think better), to make better decisions (much better based on a lot more knowledge and improved thinking!), and to plan out what I want to do so that I am more effective at working on getting what I want." (Possibly use this as an affirmation to install permanently in your brain!)
In fact the potential is to be able to increase what I have (especially skills) and how I feel in life by far more than 100% - much, much, much more in most cases (even after subtracting the time spent on learning). Time spent on learning and planning has at least a 10 times return!!!!
DON'T STOP SHORT OF LEARNING THIS! IT IS MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR!
Study this concept until you "get it" (fully understand and see why it is a truth), reading on this site and under the BarksdaleAboutLife.com site, where he does a great job, in my opinion, of how to do 'straight thinking' about this and about life.
Understanding this is a fundamental building block to having a very happy life and to being able to get what you want out of life. It removes alot of blocks to progressing and it eliminates alot of negative thoughts and feelings in and about life.
THE BASIC MACHINE IS INTACT
The basic learning, thinking, deciding, planning machine is intact. There is no flaw or fault in it. Good learning and therefore good "software" is what needs to be added. I can tell you this, that the basic unit that is YOU is Whole And Complete - although that sounds woo-woo, you'll have to read it to see the physical reality of it. Knowing and understanding this concept is essential to having a happy, progressive life! Who I really am, the core me, is not flawed - I just need to learn some things so I can have the results of good "add ons".
YOU ARE WHERE YOU ARE...AND NOW YOU GET TO CHOOSE
You can spend time bemoaning where you are and criticizing yourself or blaming someone or something else. But I suggest you get wise enough to stop doing that and to see that there is no validity in comparison and none in faulting. (If you are depressed or down on yourself you are stuck in a paradigm of your being a "fixed entity" - the evidence of your fixed thinking lies in the result it produces. Self criticism is always the result of "fixed entity" thinking. That type of thinking leads to a miserable and slow progress life. You need to "re-learn" in this area.)
If you want more and to be on a better path, your only good choice is to acknowledge (objectively and without criticism or bemoaning) where you are and to decide to accelerate your effective learning (more deliberate, more complete, more systematized).
Your first task is to convince yourself (or seek help doing that) that you should devote alot of time to learning well that which is most impactful on your life - and then to actually do the learning. Read and really nail down Effective Learning. Then select, or plan yourself, a program that will guide you along the new path of learning.
ADDENDUM - OTHER CAUSES
In reading this, it sounds as if I am saying it is only the injection of new learning that can change a path, other than serendipity or luck.
But I would say that all the changes are from new realizations or new inputs.
There are many examples that are totally inspiring to me of people who have "hit bottom" - and many experts and those trained in the "Anonymous" type groups that advise that people really won't change until they are motivated to do so by "hitting bottom", being in the pits of Hell. This extreme feedback when people run smack into reality is so jolting that it can lead to new decisions, kind of a positive effect from an extreme negative. "I'm not going to do this to myself, my family, my children, those whom I love, etc." is the catalyst for making a decision to adopt new behaviors that are more beneficial - and alot of that is from already known versions of what would be better behavior. And those people begin to pay more attention to "feedback" and what works and what doesn't work - and they are incentivized to do more with it and to learn more. (See Bad Past, Good Life, which has many examples of people who have managed to get on that upward path, often from very, very far down. Some more examples on are my channel (at KahunaKeith, no spaces): People Who Made It, Despite...)
The other side of this is, of course, the "epiphany" where suddenly all one has learned before plus some catalyst come together to cause some powerful realization of what could dramatically change somebody else's life.
All of these things are external influences that hit people in an especially impactful way, so that they then are aware because of this "life experience" (the third of the determiners of one's awareness).
Sometimes the decisions are caused by outside influences seeming at random. An acquaintance goes to a weekend growth workshop and comes out all fired up, so you take it and it causes all sorts of realizations in compact, moment-filled barrage of new information. Those are something I would definitely recommend. Take those seminars of dynamic leaders and teachers, such as those people I list in Resources For Success, Life Education Trainings, and/or in the Psychology Resources page.
Finding a mentor, special teacher, a special counselor - all will make a difference in the path - and hopefully you'll take the next step but it'll be on upside, with lots of continued upsides, such that you will arrive at a wisdom of how to live life that will create that true, unconditional happiness I do so passionately hope for for the benefit of as many people as possible.
My purpose is to help you make the decision to take that initial upward step and to live in the Life Wisdom Mindset that can start you on that incredible path, one that all human beings should know the joy of.