The Opportunity Variable

We have a long way to go from sustaining a utopian society – granted – some countries have it easier than others.

I embarked on an adventure approximately one year ago – a journey that allowed me to traverse three very different aspects of the world in one month’s time. I began my journey in India, observing a populous third-world country that has been introduced to westernized lifestyle. I later traveled to Paris, where in a mere 9 hour flight time, my quality of life was substantially elevated. I eventually made my way back to the South (North Carolina), a feeling similar to when I upgraded my old Motorola Razr phone to my first iPhone back in 2008 – both phones with substantial capability: the latter being able to significantly improve one’s quality of life.

Disclaimer: I am overly-generalizing quality of life (QOL) here as there are several places in India that surpass the United States in beauty and grandeur. But let’s calculate QOL per each region as the following:

QOL = (IO + A) / C

where QOL = Quality of Life
I = Average Income (to meet living requirements)
A = Baseline (where an individual would “start” socioeconomically, can be calculated based on status of prior generations)
C = Contingencies in life (such as major injuries, crisis, etc.)

Of course there are many other factors {understatement of the century} that can affect a person’s quality of life, but for the purpose of discussing its value around the world, we will stick to the simplified equation above. Everyone begins at a baseline (A), which I feel is usually predicted predominantly by the previous generation’s QOL. Everyone also faces turbulence in life – which can be life-altering. Major injuries that impair one’s potential to earn and support for example and thus the C variable will increase, in turn decreasing QOL. Yes, we can argue that someone with major injuries or disabilities can still have a high quality of life based on perception and positivity of the world, but for this article we are zooming out of scene and comparing overall quality of life in reference to opportunity – so hear me out.

The most important variables for QOL are I and O. I is Average Income, which signifies a person’s ability to provide for themselves and their families. I would argue that survival today is based strongly on a person’s ability to pay (cost of healthcare, cost of healthy food, cost of reallocating stressors). O is the Opportunity available for the average working-class person in their immediate environment. Notice again I reported “average person” — the above average person would most likely have the potential to create for him or herself on the global market platform. The average person sitting at that 50% mark socioeconomically, I argue, will be more limited to their surroundings in terms of opportunities and resources to elevate themselves {Generalizing hard to get the point out}. Unfortunately, you cannot alter your location’s set opportunity variable. You are born into the system and the system cannot be changed by your action’s alone. In essence, some argue that we must adapt well to the current system in order to succeed.

GDP Per Capita in U.S. Dollars (2014)1:
United States – $54,629.5
France – $42,732.6
India – $1,581.5

It just boggles my mind how many people complain about life in the United States. As I traversed through these unique regions, it was apparent that the O variable for Opportunity was significantly less for the average countryman in India vs. France vs. America. Maybe competition does play a role here as well because as more people seek the positions to sustain their lives, the demand for workers decreases. But I also would argue that competition is fairly level all over the world inside of a country and significantly different when comparing countries. My argument is that the opportunity to take an idea and build it into a thriving business is MOST possible in the United States, then France, then India. This reality is due to the infrastructure and availability of resources, which enables any downstream successes to occur.

I believe that the increase in Opportunity exponentially increases one’s quality of life because the potential is there to succeed and that is why the United States is such a magnetic country for immigrants all over the world.

With that in mind, we should be responsible for keeping things in perspective with our daily lives – a responsibility to stray away from materialization and wastefulness with food/resources. I digress – that is a topic we will need to emphasize in a later article.

What’s your take on opportunity value within your country?

The opportunity is there – the question is: will you take it?


Featured Image from An Illustrator’s Blog


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