I just read a speech by Lou Holz in which he declares 10% of your life is about what happens to you and 90% is how you respond to it. I’m not sure where he gets his numbers from. I’m not sure if they’re empirically correct. But I’ll go with it. Except that later he states:
Success and failure usually manifest themselves in personal and family income. You choose to drop out of high school or to skip college – and you are apt to have a different outcome than someone who gets a diploma and pushes on with purposeful education.
You have your children out of wedlock and life is apt to take one course; you have them within a marriage and life is apt to take another course. Most often in life our destination is determined by the course we take.
I don’t doubt that. In fact, statistically, if your folks made the correct decisions, you are likely to make better decisions yourself. Success and failure usually manifest themselves in personal and family income. I’m sure as a coach, old Lou would agree that success breeds success. I’m glad I chose to be born to a family with moderate income. Even more so, I’m glad I chose to have a grandfather who was reasonably wealthy, so that when my dad lost his job we weren’t cast into abject poverty. Of course, if I’d chosen to be a Walton or a Rockefeller or a Kennedy, I’d have been a little better off. But, I’m glad I chose supportive parents who didn’t do drugs and supported me in my endeavors. I’m not sure where I’d be if I’d chosen different parents, because they are such an important influence on my life.
I’m glad I chose to be born to parents who were married. Statistically, that is a predictor of marriage stability for me. I’ve been married close to thirty years. But then stable marriages aren’t a sign of success to Mr. Holz, so it probably doesn’t matter.
I’m glad I chose to be white, because that makes me statistically more likely to graduate from high school, to attend college, to get a higher paying job, to run a company. Why would I choose to be black if that only gave me a fifty percent chance of staying out of jail? By being white, I’m statistically more likely to run the for profit prison where I’d more likely be if I’d been born black.
I’m really glad my parents chose to be born white, or they might have been sent to inferior schools where they would have used the cast off books after the white schools were done with them. Because they chose to be white, they got the new books and better schools. So, thanks Mom and Dad for choosing to be white, middle class folks with a wealthy white grandfather!!!!
I’m glad I chose to be male. Again, I’m really not prevented from doing anything, and I’m likely to be paid more to do it. Of course I have a higher chance of being in jail for that choice. But by choosing to be male, my high school counselor didn’t tell me that veterinary school was not for me, and that I should think about being a secretary or nurse or something, like they told my sister. Bummer that she chose to be a girl, because she’d make less money than me even if we held the same job, and I’m way more likely to hold political office than she is, because of her poor choice.
Not to toot my own horn, but I’m glad I chose to be reasonably handsome. That statistically improved my chances of getting a job, promotions and higher pay.
I’m glad I chose to have a high IQ. That was a good choice. I don’t have to worry about struggling to learn things like math and reading. Choosing not to have dyslexia was a bonus as well. Except for choosing to be white, I bet choosing to be born healthy, with my vision and hearing and such intact was one of my best choices.
Maybe not. Maybe it’s the choices I didn’t make. I didn’t choose to have drug addicted parents. I didn’t choose to be born in a crime ridden ghetto with crappy schools. In fact, the school I attended until 2nd grade wasn’t great, and the friends I chose there grew up and got into a lot of trouble. Not me. I chose to move at age seven to a wealthier school out in the suburbs. There I chose friends who were clean cut and into academics. Come to think of it, except for a few girls, most of them had made the same choices I made. They chose to be white boys, born to middle class white folks, and they chose to attend safe, suburban schools like I did.
I chose to like girls too. That was a great choice. It saved me a lot of harassment in school and lowered my chances of suicide tremendously. For that matter, I’m glad I chose to have a brain that wasn’t biochemically predisposed to depression and anxiety. That saved a ton of trouble.
Yep, by choosing to be a straight white male in America ( I mean, why would I choose to be born in some central or south American country rife with violence and poverty, when I could choose to be born in the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world?!) I have statistically put myself in a position to be one of the haves. People don’t follow me around stores or stop and frisk me for no reason. I’ve never been stopped by a cop unless I actually had done something wrong. I was never steered away by a real estate agent from certain neighborhoods. No one ever burned a cross in my yard.
I’m where I am today because of all the great choices I made.
You know, Lou Holz made the right choices too. How many black college coaches were there when he was coaching at Notre Dame? If he’d chosen to be a poor black female, I bet he wouldn’t be in the position he’s in today. Yep. He’s made all the right choices.