Do you have a younger person asking you this? Are you a young person thinking that everything is different now and getting ahead is too hard or maybe impossible? That things have changed in some irreparable way?
Here’s the answer. It’s the same formula that our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents used to get ahead and build this country. The answer comes in two parts:
There’s just no substitute for this. Since most people want a nice relaxed life, when you put out some effort, you’ll stand out in the crowd. Have two jobs. Work in the evening as well as the daytime. Do what it takes to get a leg up.
Without this, intelligence, great ideas, and innovation, don’t count for much. Better a B or C-level idea in the hands of a hard worker than an A-level idea in the hands of a slacker.
Acquire skills that people are willing to pay for
There are people who are worth $15/hour to the market. They haven’t acquired any unique skills, so they’re paid very little.
Then there are people who are paid $150/hour. Their skills are more unique and more valuable to the market.
Others are paid $1500, or $15,000, or $150,000, or $15,000,000, for an hour’s work. Their skills are even more desired by the market.
Note the phrase “by the market.” You’re valuable as a mom, dad, sibling, community member, and so on. God values you regardless of your output. But you get paid based on how the market values you. And that’s about how desirable and unique your skills are.
Assess your skills right now
What are they, and how does the market value them? Are they in any way unique?
Now look around and ask yourself if there’s a step you could take that would make you more valuable. It’s probably a small step, not a huge leap. Acquire that skill. Learn to do everything in the kitchen, not just the job you were originally assigned. Learn how to do the ordering. Learn customer service. Learn to manage a small team. Get a raise. Then acquire another skill.
Now that you have more skills, more opportunities pop up because there are less people who have the skills that you do.
That’s how you get ahead. Always has been, always will be.
Don’t give up! Look for opportunity!
Getting ahead is about getting started. Take a step!