Our go-get-it culture constantly repeats us that we can be anything we want to be. The only thing needed is some focus and lots of hard work. Part of this is absolutely true. We live in times where individuals have a great power over their future, and they can intentionally shape it. At least in the west, we are in a much better place, and skin color, gender, national origin, upbringing, and any handicaps are not the final word.
We are far from perfect though, and we still insist in judging individuals that, for one reason or another, haven’t been able to reach exceptional outcomes. We often jump to the conclusion that is because of laziness, or lack of character.
Outcomes are, to a large extent, a consequence of circumstances that individuals have little control of, and they may be in their situation by no fault of their own.
We can hold people accountable and be fair and compassionate at the same time.