The Haves and The Have-nots

by teresalaynebennett

cute baby with silver spoon in mouth

The silver-spooners get no guarantees.

You know about The Haves and The Have-nots. They’re talked about enough. You may even make excuses for yourself because you, through no fault of your own, were born a Have-not.

You’ve observed – perhaps with envy and maybe even some resentment – that bunch born with high IQs, excellent bone structure, high metabolism, strong bodies, boundless energy, AND a loving, wealthy family. The Blessed. The born-with-silver-spoons-in-their-mouths bunch: The Haves.

And you may have even used this observation to explain to yourself why some people just seem to get along so much better than others.

But I’d like to add just a little perspective to that. Yes, many of The Haves do quite well. But have you also noticed that sometimes they make incredibly crummy decisions and live out shabby lives, compared to how they started? The Blessed don’t always stay blessed. The Haves don’t always keep what they have.

And have you also noticed that some of the rest of us – The Have-nots – who weren’t blessed with all those inherited resources, seem to do all right for ourselves? In fact, some of us outshine The Blessed and often figure out how to live quite successfully, in spite of being The Ordinary rather than The Blessed.

Now, how does that happen?

Lots of factors enter into that. (Read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.) But it all starts when we pay attention, when we learn life’s lessons from other people’s experiences. It continues when we work at applying those vicariously learned lessons to our own lives. And there you have it – a really cool success-to-pain ratio. One very ordinary Have-not + very ordinary abilities + pay-attention mindset = one person who gets to live a cool life with less experiential pain than most.

Let me be clear: I haven’t been paying attention my whole life. I’ve had my share of what the educational gurus like to call SLEs (significant learning experiences). Big ole mistakes in non-educator-speak.

But I’ve also paid a decent amount of attention. These PayAttention! blog posts are a combination of the experienced and the observed. It’s one very ordinary person’s attempt to help others sidestep some of life’s painful experiences and live a successful life.

Really. It can be done, regardless of the resources you have – or haven’t – been given. Life – your life – can be lived quite successfully, even if you don’t belong to The Silver Spoon Club. Everything you need to live a happy, productive life is right in front of you, if you have the WILL to just look – to pay attention – and live life accordingly.

Is it work? Well, of course. Anything worth having is.

Is it do-able? Well, of course. Why else would I bother with this PayAttention! blog?

But those aren’t
the questions you should ask.

Here’s the question to ask: are you willing to do the necessary pay-attention work to work yourself out of The Have-not category and into The Have category?

red box with white text about he HAVES and HAVE-NOTS, the WILLS and WILL-NOTS

Do you have the will? Then pay attention.

George Orwell's quote about how what a constant struggle it is to see what is in front of one's nose.


© 2013 Teresa Layne Bennett
[photo from Silver Spoon Baby Planners]