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Myths About Meritocracy And Becoming Rich Before 25

Liberal ideas are always on the trend topics, and, although those concepts are largely widespread through social media, there are always rich and famous people behind it, defending tooth and nail their own privileges. In addition to many other problems of liberal ideology, one of them starts from the moment that it affects those people’s merely mortal fans, who blindly ignore the fact that they are not – and may never be – just the same as their idols in terms of social and economic conditions. This way, the insidious rags-to-riches tale is spread among a dreamer youth that prays to be a millionaire as its only purpose.

The Brazilian businesswoman and TikTok influencer Jade Picon recently became a millionaire – at the age of 20 . At the same time that some people see this as an inspiration – attaching all those adjectives and liberal hashtags to her like “Girl Power”, “Girls Rule The World” or “Girl Boss” –, a few others may see the reality: a pointless frustration caused in young workers by a girl that was actually born in an already wealth family and had all the opportunities to study and to achieve the million dream.

This case, as many others, creates a myth about the necessity of becoming rich at 20s – and most important: that you can easily do this if you truly want to –. Thousands of “X steps to be a millionaire” books are sold everyday to people who fantasize about becoming rich in a short run. This is, however, just the tip of the iceberg. There are many things that they surely won’t tell you about. This fairytale of depending on nothing but strength of will and self determination is just a capitalist way to repackage a dystopian reality.

The thought of having a luxury life and don’t ever going through any economic difficulties is, indeed, illusional. It’s obvious that with all these immediatism and social status waves, (lack of) money will affect most people – psychologically speaking. But being realistic and having the acknowledge that this is not about merits may get you way closer to end your concerns about not achieving your financial goals, besides helping you to bring your plans to a more practical sphere, in which you know there’s no necessity to charge yourself that much.

Here is a short list of stuff you need to know in order to cease the myth of meritocracy.

What nobody sees

It’s easy to talk about how things in life come easily with some effort when, in reality, it comes from years of human exploration. There’s no way you can believe that the richest person from South Africa, the country that for decades witnessed the Apartheid, is a white person just as a coincidence. Also, even nowadays, exploitation inherited from the neocolonialism times is often masked as empowerment.

Many luxury brands are denounced for slavery, including those who use catchphrases about the awareness of social problems, going against their own speech.

Not only this, but a lot of tax evasion cases are daily reported in this environment. The big industry is dived in political and economic scandals, especially in this area – although some of them can hide it pretty well, lots of businesspeople flee to other countries because of corruption and other crimes. Perhaps, after all, their “willpower” isn’t as honest as they say so.

Coaching and toxic positivity

Well-being is frequently associated with an idea of positivity and optimism, especially in a capitalist context, in which they want you to be a machine. You have to work, produce wealth, and you can’t complain. But you don’t have to work while they sleep, I swear. This way, the idea that you must be grateful for everything, including over working, resignations and stressful moments emerged as a toxic positivity thing.

Stuff like “law of attraction”, boosted by the coaching trend, make you feel guilty for being sad during tough situations. It’s not like you have the obligation to be devastated and crying over anything, but there’s no problem with this too. Whenever you feel uncomfortable or affected somehow by any situation, there’s nothing to shame if you burst into tears. Every human being is sensible, fragile and a little troubled their own way – that’s the true essence of being alive, not being completed committed to capitalism.

Personal fulfillment has nothing to do with money

There are plenty reasons why you may believe that this sentence is true. This speech probably seems harmless; however, it’s bad not only for your patience, but also for your mental health. It’s not something noticeable at first sight, but the consequences are way worse: tons of young people feel sad and useless when unemployed or still not rich, relying on the ambition of being a millionaire one day as their only motivation. Depression and anxiety are, unfortunately, a harsh reality.

If you only think of your life as a resource to make more and more money, the emptiness won’t ever be filled. And then, when you actually have the money, you’ll feel like a single drop of happiness starts to reach your expectations – but it’s nothing but a drop in the ocean.

Liberalism may distance you from reality and what should truly matter. What makes you happy doesn’t care at this point, since there is a huge variety of things you can find realization at, but be sure your enjoyment isn’t being blocked by a pointless system. It’s not a cliché – although it sounds like one –, but you have to spend more time doing things that provide you good feelings than worrying about job and career.

Your goals are not established yet – as they shouldn’t be

It’s very common that in this age – before 25 – you still are not so sure about what you want to do with your life, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a moment of reflection and getting to know the world and yourself better. Phrases like “you need to decide what you want” are often told, but it only emphasizes the industrialist self of contemporary society. Keep in mind you can always change, reinvent, and find yourself in things that were once unimaginable. You don’t need to have a fixed goal. You can dream and persist, as long as you don’t get so stuck with it that you forget you’re bigger than what you do or what you owe.

And last but not least, re-think your concepts of meritocracy. The reason why you are not a Kylie Jenner yet isn’t because you don’t strive enough, but simply because you're not a Jenner. Meritocracy only makes sense if you start from the top – but they keep insisting it's just the same as starting from the bottom. Defending this idea is shooting yourself in the foot.

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The article above was edited by Bárbara Vetos.

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Lara Sanchez

Casper Libero '24

Journalism student at Cásper Líbero college. Passioned about culture, politics, languages and writing in general.
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