American culture is thick with the notion that if you hustle hard enough, anything can be yours.
There’s the 10,000 hour rule, where if you just spend enough time, you can be world class.
60 hour work weeks are seen as God-tier status, and all-nighters are humble-bragged about and worn like badges we compete over.
“Damn, I stayed up allllll night to finish this report.”
“I KNOW. I had to spend the whole weekend working for the new launch.”
While there’s a lot of truth that if you don’t give up and work really, really, really hard, you’ll probably do well for yourself. But this is ignoring the systemic issues that make life generally much harder for some people than others.
It’s easy to tout that all you need to start a company is a laptop nowadays, but that also assumes that you also have a decent internet connection. And can afford power and the laptop itself. And that you don’t already have to work 12 hour days of manual labor in a field. And that you were able to go to elementary school without having to starve at lunch and miss half the school day because you had to help your family work.
Let’s be real about American meritocracy – hard work is rewarded, but not as much as winning the birth lottery.