“You play the hand you’re dealt – but a lot depends on how you play it”

By Nina Steele 

I love this statement by Fraser Nelson, the editor of the Spectator magazine, as part of a brilliant article he wrote for the Telegraph, about how to avoid poverty. It is such a true assessment of life in general.

I have always believed that ultimately, it is up to us what we become. It often doesn’t matter much what the circumstances of your birth are. If you have a bit of self-belief and courage, you can become someone.

By becoming someone, I am not necessarily talking about becoming rich (although of course that won’t be a bad thing), what I am talking about, is to have enough money to live well.

Of course there are people who are born in circumstances so dire that they are unable to escape. For example people born under tyranny. Thankfully, most people live in places where they are able to make something of their lives.

I often hear stories of people who blame their childhood for the way their life has turned out. Statements such as: I wasn’t loved enough, we were poor, I had no father figure, have been made time and time again.

The thing is, these circumstances apply to a big chunk of the population. Yet a lot of those people go on to make something of their lives. We cannot remain victims for ever.

No one’s life is ever perfect. Even those born in rich families have their own cross to bear. The key is to not see yourself as a victim, because it is a mindset that is very difficult to get out of.

Unfortunately, the blame culture is rife right now. Reality TV has a lot to answer for. The whole ethos of those shows is to bring out the worse in people for the sake of entertainment.

There was a time when people were proud to tell their rags to riches stories and helped inspire others. Today, it is the opposite. People are happy to play the role of victims and would go to the media for pretty much anything, with pictures of them looking glum, to emphasise their unhappiness.

I suppose it is easier to play the victim than it is to go out there and make your own life. The only problem is that, playing the victim will never make you happy, while becoming entirely your own person, will.

Being childless in Africa

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