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The Lottery of Life

We're often told we're in charge of our futures, that there are opportunities available to all of us if only we are willing to work hard.

I wonder if that's really true when I see poverty around the world. I witnessed women in Cusco selling locally made goods and food in the hopes that they'd collect a few soles so at the end of the day they could feed their families.

In comparison, I know I hit the lottery in life. I grew up in a lower middle class existence, we never had a lot of money, it was paycheck to paycheck with my parents and they always worried about how to pay the bills. But I was 1) born in the modern world in the USA and 2) always had a roof over my head and food on the table. Those two facts alone put me in the top 1% of humanity. I never worried about where I would sleep. I never had to raise my children in such conditions that I had to bring them with me to sell goods to foreigners on the streets in order to survive.

I could have been born into a life that was exponentially harder, in a different time or different country. This fact is imprinted on my soul and the foundation of much of my gratitude. With this understanding comes a longing to lift up others who did not win the birth lottery.

I think about what choices I can make today, how I spend my money, where I spend my time, and what ways I show up in the world that can reduce the suffering of others less fortunate. Do you think about this too?


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