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Good things

As they are worded, each of the statements in the picture is true.  There are people who wait and good things come to them, and there are people who work really hard without giving up and good things come to them too.  However, when interpreted (as invariably they are) universally, they become false.  And we don't have to look very hard for examples.

I think I can forgo offering examples of people who wait and wait and still nothing good happens to them, so we'll move on to the second statement.  The most obvious example that comes to mind is slavery.  There have been (throughout history) generations of people born into slavery who were enslaved their entire lives and "good things" didn't really happen to them ever.  They had really crappy lives.  They were whipped and beaten and paid nothing for their labor.  They weren't even treated as people.  In many cases, the slavedriver treated his own pets more humanely than he treated his slaves.

Now let's talk about right now, in our day.  We have factories in other countries (yet owned and operated by American businesses) which are in effect plantations run by slaves.  In fact, in some cases they are worse than the plantations of the colonial times.  The situation is so bad, they installed nets to prevent workers from killing themselves by jumping out the window.  Tell me, when do these "good things" come to these people?  They're working harder than any American ever does--and I know some Americans who work really hard and can barely even make ends meet (or even many who can't make ends meet without aid from the government or another source).  Some of these people are required to stand for the whole duration of their shifts, and some work 24 hours at a time.

But even here in America, where we think we have it well, things are not always good for people who work hard.  As I said, I personally know several people who are working one or two full-time jobs (some may even work more than that) and are barely able to pay their own expenses.  There is no "good" in this.  And they are working really hard, they aren't giving up.  But that's not enough.

Good things do not necessarily come to those who wait, nor do they necessarily come to those who work hard.  They come for many reasons.  Sometimes they appear to be mere chance.  Sometimes it is biological (which may be considered chance, I suppose).  Although, I would say that most often it would seem to be the case that good things come to those for whom good things are done.  Good things came to me in my life because I was given loving parents and an environment in which I could flourish and develop my own natural talents.  Good things came to me because I was educated and cared for.  Yes, I have worked hard in my life, and many of the "good things" I have are because of my own merits, but not all.  Not even most.  Most of the good things that I have can easily be attributed to other people who have been kind to me and treated me with compassion.

What does this mean for me?  First, it means I won't sit around and wait for good things to happen to other people because I don't think that's the most effect way.  Second, it means I won't simply tell other people to work harder and then they'll have all the good things in life.  Instead, what it means for me is that I need to do good things for other people.  I need to extend my hand and help those in need.  I need to treat others with the kindness and love that I have been shown.  I need to cause good things to happen in other people's lives.

The plight of my friends who are working overtime and barely scraping by will not change if I do not take action.  What can I do?  I can raise public awareness of the sad economic state we're in, as in the video below.  I can write to companies which I know do not treat their employees fairly, such as Wal-Mart (I have written them) and Apple (I plan to write them) and let them know that I disapprove of their business model thriving off of slave labor.  In fact, I have also written Costco to let them know that I appreciate their good business model and the fact that they treat their employees well.  I can (and do as often as possible) share my own income with those who are less fortunate than myself.  Please comment and share any other ideas that you have.  What can I do to bring good things to those I love?

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