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Re-Defining What it Means to Lose

The participation trophy has become the rights’ go to when it comes to movements aimed at evening the economic field. When it comes to individuals, only the winners should reap any benefits. Only the best of the best should stand on the podium. When they imagine a more progressive world, they think of everyone getting on that podium, or perhaps the podium being eliminated all together. 

Photo by Natureworks

Now, I’m not going to say that there aren’t those on the left who want everyone at the same level. They do exist, and to me, they are just as wrong as those who want the winners to take all. The drive to excel and be the best at something breeds innovation, and moves us ahead. Having a winner makes people try harder. We end up creating a better wheel in the end when the podium is there. 

What Does It Mean To Lose?

But the winners are not the ones I want to talk about today. I want to talk about the losers. The ones who put in only a hundred percent, and just can’t keep up with the ones who give a hundred twenty. Those who participate enough to get the job done, but have other priorities that are more important. I want to talk about what it should mean to be one of them. 

Economies are always going to have winners and losers. The percent that fall into either category is going to change. What shouldn’t change is what it means to fall on the losing end of the economy. Now, to clarify, I’m talking about those who actually participate. Those who work forty hours (though that number is going to have to go down at some point), deserve to have their needs met. These losers should be able to pay their bills, and have enough left over to save. 

This whole grind culture, and the idea that if you want to get ahead you have to work two or three jobs, is corrupting our views of what it means to actually participate in the workforce. I see a lot of posts on social media, saying that if someone really wants to get out of poverty, they should get another job, as if a personal or family life doesn’t matter. 

Our grandparents, the ones who supposedly lived during the good-ol-days, had a different way of looking at things. They didn’t work on the weekends so they would have enough to retire, they were out fishing. They didn’t work a second job at night to put food on the table, they were sitting at the table asking their kids how their days were. And yes, I am being a little simplistic in how I look at this. There were those living in poverty back then. However, those people were not the ones working full time.

That is the big difference today. If we look at those who are participating as the ones working full-time, then the definition of what it means to not be a winner has devolved. Then, it meant you had to buy a modest house, instead of your dream one. It meant you fished from the shore of the lake, instead of in your nice boat. Now, it means that you must work that second job to get ahead. It means you are lucky to have enough money left at the end of the month to save. 

As we go forward as a nation, we need to start redefining things. We need a new definition of what it means to be a loser in this economy. 

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