The fascinating thing about our society is the propensity to hold exceptions up as rules. Everyone thinks they can be the next Richard Brandon or Ariana Huffington or Twitter or Instagram or SnapChat, but the truth is, success is often about luck: these people were in the right place at the right time with the right set of circumstances working in their favour. The “you can do or be anything you want” mantra is also a lie. The truth is we can’t, because generally our individual circumstances or our gene pool conspires against us. I want to be married to Tom Hardy, but it won’t happen. I might want to be a singer, but I need to be able to sing well, and no amount of practise will change the fact that I’m tone deaf. I might want to be a super model, but I am neither thin nor beautiful, just average. Individualism has been a thing for a couple of centuries now, and it serves to shift the blame for success (or equally, failure) fairly and squarely onto the individual. It’s just been magnified and sped up with technology and media.

Australian writer recently returned from 4 years living in Vietnam. Editor of Vox Virtus and Abroadingly. Blogs at dianelee.com.au and travellinghomebody.com.

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