In what ways is society keeping us from our full potential?

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Before answering this question, let us bear in mind that there are different types of society and each one has its own culture and social structure that can actualize and hinder people’s potential and goal. It is really difficult to generalize to answer this question. Achieving one’s potential in primitive societies is different when done in urban and state societies. But we can assume here that we are dealing with the contemporary urban societies.

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First of all, society has an opportunity structure and social stratification. The opportunity structure determines how an individual can actualize his/her potential in whatever field s/he wishes to become. So there is some inequality here with regard to access to opportunities and societal benefits to achieve success and realize one’s dream.

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For instance, in the job market, not all people are qualified to apply and be accepted to the type of job they wish to work. Society through the corporate industry determines the qualifications and screens applicants when awarding job opportunities.

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Second, opportunity structure oftentimes is connected with the social stratification or classification of people in society which consists of social class and social status. The former refers to the classification of people based on the amount of wealth and property, while the latter refers to one’s marketable skills, credentials, and level of education.

money smoking GIF

These 2 types of social classification of people in society are actually 2 major sources of power in the modern world which can greatly affect one’s access to opportunities in society. If one is rich or famous, s/he can easily use his/her resources and social connections to achieve what s/he wants in society.

blackish tv show GIF

The poor and those with lower social status cannot just attain their potential in life because of social stratification. Studies show that the poverty does not only deprive people of material wealth but social options in society. Indeed power differentials in terms of wealth and social status can keep or allow people to achieve their full potential in society.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

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In what ways is society keeping us from our full potential?

viola davis diversity GIF

Before answering this question, let us bear in mind that there are different types of society and each one has its own culture and social structure that can actualize and hinder people’s potential and goal. It is really difficult to generalize to answer this question. Achieving one’s potential in primitive societies is different when done in urban and state societies. But we can assume here that we are dealing with the contemporary urban societies.

window opportunity GIF

First of all, society has an opportunity structure and social stratification. The opportunity structure determines how an individual can actualize his/her potential in whatever field s/he wishes to become. So there is some inequality here with regard to access to opportunities and societal benefits to achieve success and realize one’s dream.

heidi montag GIF by The Hills

For instance, in the job market, not all people are qualified to apply and be accepted to the type of job they wish to work. Society through the corporate industry determines the qualifications and screens applicants when awarding job opportunities.

rich dave chappelle GIF

Second, opportunity structure oftentimes is connected with the social stratification or classification of people in society which consists of social class and social status. The former refers to the classification of people based on the amount of wealth and property, while the latter refers to one’s marketable skills, credentials, and level of education.

money smoking GIF

These 2 types of social classification of people in society are actually 2 major sources of power in the modern world which can greatly affect one’s access to opportunities in society. If one is rich or famous, s/he can easily use his/her resources and social connections to achieve what s/he wants in society.

blackish tv show GIF

The poor and those with lower social status cannot just attain their potential in life because of social stratification. Studies show that the poverty does not only deprive people of material wealth but social options in society. Indeed power differentials in terms of wealth and social status can keep or allow people to achieve their full potential in society.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

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Don’t Worry while Waiting Your Turn in Life  

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The song of Diana Ross entitled “It’s My Turn” reminds us that we just have to wait for our turn to achieve what we want in life. Society has opportunity structure for us. We just have to wait for our turn. When it comes, we can be proud to say:

“…It’s my turn
To see what I can see
I hope you’ll understand
This time’s just for me

Because it’s my turn
With no apologies
I’ve given up the truth
To those I’ve tried to please

But now it’s my turn
If I don’t have all the answers
At least I know I’ll take my share of chances
Ain’t no use of holding on
When nothing stays the same….”

Yes, life is always in a state of flux! It can sometimes become cruel to us. It has its ups and downs. We have to wait for our turn to allow life to bring us up when we’re down. It rarely provides an opportunity for things we immediately want to address our problems. After a painful break-up, for instance, with a romantic partner, we immediately wish to find someone who is much better and loving than the person who causes us pain to stop the hurt inside our hearts. Or after being bullied by a person or group when we’re young in school, we wish to find power and support to depend  ourselves and assert our right! Or after a devastating defeat in a major contest or competition when we’re humiliated in front of a lonely crowd, we immediately want that the event could have been reversed and we be declared a sure winner!

Just Wait, Society has Opportunity Structure!

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But life does not work the way we want it to be. It has its own opportunity structure conditioned by social forces of society we’re living in. We just have to wait for our turn to be raised in the platform of success and public admiration! Jack Ma, one of the richest men in China and the founder of the Alibaba Group, was rejected many times by Harvard Business School for his applications. He encountered a series of failures in building his business empire but remained persistent and waited for his turn to achieve success! I also know a fine lady who underwent a series of frustrations with her former boyfriends and eventually married a decent and religious man. They are now living happily as a couple in the United States. Steve Jobs was also struggling before his innovative ideas became a reality. But it took years of patience and perseverance before his vision of Apple became a success!

man-1828547_640

Waiting for society to give us the right opportunity does not mean being passive. While waiting, we have to do our part to prepare for the upcoming “break” society can offer us to succeed. Since society has its own opportunity structure, we have to prepare ourselves for the right “turn” society would offer us. If one is experiencing a failed relationship, he or she must do something to forget the past and move on to find the right partner in life! S/he must place himself/herself in situations which can allow him/her to interact with people who can offer him/her the right love and affection. So also with people who experience failures in business. They have to find ways and prepare for the next opportunity to come!

Waiting One’s Turn and Humility

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Waiting for our turn for opportunity to favor us and accept that there are things in life that we cannot immediately change requires a virtue called humility. People who encounter a series of problems  indicates a lack of humility. Recklessness is sometimes a fruit of pride and lack of humility and acceptance that we are just a cog in a big machine called society. Humility and right timing is the key in solving one’s problem and attaining success! And when society’s opportunity structure opens up again and offer us the road to success and happiness, we can bravely say:

“…It’s my turn
To see what I can see
I hope you’ll understand
This time’s just for me

Because it’s my turn
With no apologies
I’ve given up the truth
To those I’ve tried to please…”

change ahead

Christ says: “Do Not Worry, You are More than What You Eat”

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25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifea]”>[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6: 25-34).

Photo credit: Pexels.com, Pixabay.com, and Shutterstock.com

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Don’t Worry while Waiting Your Turn in Life  

sunset-3084651_640 (2)
Web Hosting

The song of Diana Ross entitled “It’s My Turn” reminds us that we just have to wait for our turn to achieve what we want in life. Society has opportunity structure for us. We just have to wait for our turn. When it comes, we can be proud to say:

“…It’s my turn
To see what I can see
I hope you’ll understand
This time’s just for me

Because it’s my turn
With no apologies
I’ve given up the truth
To those I’ve tried to please

But now it’s my turn
If I don’t have all the answers
At least I know I’ll take my share of chances
Ain’t no use of holding on
When nothing stays the same….”

Yes, life is always in a state of flux! It can sometimes become cruel to us. It has its ups and downs. We have to wait for our turn to allow life to bring us up when we’re down. It rarely provides an opportunity for things we immediately want to address our problems. After a painful break-up, for instance, with a romantic partner, we immediately wish to find someone who is much better and loving than the person who causes us pain to stop the hurt inside our hearts. Or after being bullied by a person or group when we’re young in school, we wish to find power and support to depend  ourselves and assert our right! Or after a devastating defeat in a major contest or competition when we’re humiliated in front of a lonely crowd, we immediately want that the event could have been reversed and we be declared a sure winner!

Just Wait, Society has Opportunity Structure!

adult-3373639_640

But life does not work the way we want it to be. It has its own opportunity structure conditioned by social forces of society we’re living in. We just have to wait for our turn to be raised in the platform of success and public admiration! Jack Ma, one of the richest men in China and the founder of the Alibaba Group, was rejected many times by Harvard Business School for his applications. He encountered a series of failures in building his business empire but remained persistent and waited for his turn to achieve success! I also know a fine lady who underwent a series of frustrations with her former boyfriends and eventually married a decent and religious man. They are now living happily as a couple in the United States. Steve Jobs was also struggling before his innovative ideas became a reality. But it took years of patience and perseverance before his vision of Apple became a success!

man-1828547_640

Waiting for society to give us the right opportunity does not mean being passive. While waiting, we have to do our part to prepare for the upcoming “break” society can offer us to succeed. Since society has its own opportunity structure, we have to prepare ourselves for the right “turn” society would offer us. If one is experiencing a failed relationship, he or she must do something to forget the past and move on to find the right partner in life! S/he must place himself/herself in situations which can allow him/her to interact with people who can offer him/her the right love and affection. So also with people who experience failures in business. They have to find ways and prepare for the next opportunity to come!

Waiting One’s Turn and Humility

aisle-altar-arches-226345

Waiting for our turn for opportunity to favor us and accept that there are things in life that we cannot immediately change requires a virtue called humility. People who encounter a series of problems  indicates a lack of humility. Recklessness is sometimes a fruit of pride and lack of humility and acceptance that we are just a cog in a big machine called society. Humility and right timing is the key in solving one’s problem and attaining success! And when society’s opportunity structure opens up again and offer us the road to success and happiness, we can bravely say:

“…It’s my turn
To see what I can see
I hope you’ll understand
This time’s just for me

Because it’s my turn
With no apologies
I’ve given up the truth
To those I’ve tried to please…”

change ahead

Christ says: “Do Not Worry, You are More than What You Eat”

christ-898330_640

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifea]”>[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6: 25-34).

Photo credit: Pexels.com, Pixabay.com, and Shutterstock.com

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Spirituality is Your Way to Freedom from Societal Traps

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The Need of Intervention in Societal Traps

Serious societal traps or problems require external intervention to free people from serious problems. Powerful individual or groups can liberate the poor and the helpless to end up their cycles of abuse, dependence, and poverty. Three young children in one rural community in the Philippines became orphans after their parents died in an accident. There were no relatives who adopted them. They continued to live in their makeshift home. The eldest was around 11 years old while the youngest was still 4 years old. In order to survive, the eldest sibling stopped attending school and worked as an errand in a local hardware, carrying heavy loads just to earn one dollar per day in order to buy food. In this case, if no external intervention is forthcoming to save the kids from this trap, their suffering and societal trap would continue.

No Person is Totally Powerless

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A societal trap can still be overcome by the individual through the creative use of strategies and tactics given the limited resources at hand. People are resilient. One of the best insights we can probably learn from contemporary theorists of power, particularly from the French philosopher and theorist Michelle Foucault, is the idea that power is not possessed through social class or status but exercised through effective strategies and creative use of manipulation and that no person can be considered totally powerless and helpless. Each one can somehow use his or her limited resources creatively to overcome a problem or desperate situation and overcome a societal trap.

Illustration of David and Goliath

The story of David and Goliath in the Bible reminds us that there is no invincible enemy or insurmountable problem as long as people are creative in their use of of their limited resources and inspired by a spirituality or strong belief in something supernatural. The giant Goliath is obviously physically superior compared to the boy David in the Biblical story. But the latter won over the former through effective use of strategy and skill. David used his intelligence and creativity, represented by the use of a sling, to defeat Goliath who obviously relied only on his size and physical power. Moreover, David tapped another powerful arsenal to maximize his courage and determination against Goliath—his strong faith in God and  strong belief that winning against Goliath is “doing God’s will.”

The Importance of Spirituality

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To overcome societal traps requires, first of all, a spirituality to provide people with courage and determination to face their adversary. This probably implies a “conversion” to a religious belief, ideology, or anything superior than the self. People who agree to become suicide bomber, for instance, require a socialization to extremist religious beliefs and practices which embolden them to commit suicide for the sake of religion or ideology. So, if persons are aiming to overcome societal traps, they have to prepare ourselves for a societal ‘fight” by harnessing their life of prayer and spirituality. Life is a battlefield that requires personal strength and disposition to face the challenges and conflicts. Merely following psychological prescriptions would not be effective if the interior self is not prepared spiritually to fight societal traps.

After people have developed a strong sense of spirituality, they can probably be ready to think creatively or strategize to overcome own societal traps,   given their limited resources and political power in life.

On Opportunity Traps

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Photo credit: Pexabay.com

People live in a society that is highly structured in favor to those with more power and influence, whether in one’s group, organization, institution, or society. Opportunities are usually structured in favor to those who have superior talent, resource, ability, or strong political connections with the powerful. In a highly “unjust” societies or dysfunctional organizations, opportunities are not based on merit and qualifications but often based on personal and political connections, on “who one knows” and not on “what one knows." In this case, the option is either they transfer to another system or organization to escape a the “toxic” corporate system or become innovative in the organization.

One employee is trapped in one company with toxic culture. His salary has not been increased for a couple of years. He was not promoted either because of favoritism prevailing in the company. He has no personal  connections with those in the top management. He cannot also leave the firm because his children are dependent on his educational benefits.  To escape this opportunity trap and raise his family income, he engaged in an online retail business during his spare time. After his business became big, he resigned from his job and gained financial freedom and liberate himself from the opportunity trap. There are lots of success stories of people who were able to rescue themselves from opportunity traps by simply being innovative and creative in addressing their difficult situation, silently creating opportunities to free themselves from the opportunity trap.

On Relationship Trap

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Every relationship, especially involving romance or marital love, has its own functions and dysfunctions, costs and benefits, no matter how sour or abusive is the relationship. It is not easy to separate from a relationship that has somehow fulfill some material or emotional needs of one of the romantic partners. Every failed romantic relationship usually begins with an intense feeling of attraction, intimacy, and mutual care between partners and end up in separation and animosity. Human beings are historical. Romantic partners can change as societal environment changes. Thus, a relationship which begins with an intense feeling of love can end up with a strong feeling of abuse and animosity between partners. One form of relationship trap is staying in an abusive relationship. This can happen in a romantic relationship or in marriage. Abuse can either be verbal or physical.  One study showed that women stayed in an abusive relationship because of the following reasons which can be delusional:

  1. They believe that they can change or save their partners' abusive behavior., that they are called by supernatural powers to become "saviors" of their abusive husbands.
  2. They appeal to loyalty: They do not want to leave their husbands because they are loyal to tradition or promises to their parents or relatives.
  3. They need their abusive partners' companionship and support. No felt alone if they leave the relationship. Abusive husbands also have their moments of care after each abuse.

These reasons are not sufficient to allow or tolerate the husband's abuse. Thus, the state must create more meaningful programs and support systems to liberate women from this type of relationship trap.

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