Why Are We Here?

Isabel Sawhill from the Brookings Institution, one of the country’s leading thinkers on social mobility, recently said, “We do need a more nuanced conversation, and we need to get away from this sense that is being created in the political world right now that it’s either all about being a Horatio Alger or it’s all about government support to help you. It’s not either/or, it’s both.”

When I set out to write Moving Up, it was an attempt to start this more nuanced conversation. Eventually, I came to realize that I only had three readers in mind — my three young daughters — and I knew that they wouldn’t be able to read these pages and understand its content for at least another decade.

I know. Not much of a business plan.

The perils of publishing increasingly suggest that writing anything of impact is like catching lightning in a bottle. So I thought I would just light three little candles instead. I hope to shed some illumination on what has shaped my life and, by extension, theirs.

While I did work hard, I had many other things and people working equally hard in my favor.

While being self-reliant is important, it is not sufficient. Real happiness is found by being deeply connected to the people and places around you.

While you live in a land of opportunity, you have been more blessed than many others — a fact that no matter how hard you work and how many dreams you achieve, you should never forget.

And while there are many ways of defining “moving up,” it is most helpful to think of “up” not as where you go, but how you feel. Realizing also that what we should be moving is not ourselves, but others. Always be moving up. Always be moving up. Learn more about WHY this project was created.

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