social mobility: there’s not a lot you can do but you can do something

Are you striving to improve your social status?

They say poverty is the presence that doesn’t count…

So are you heading towards the ‘richer’ side?

Or, are you simply dreaming for the better life while watching the clock tick by?

Well, here’s the good news for those aspiring to hit that high note of ‘the upper-middle-class lifestyle: that today, according to reports, it’s 100 times difficult to get there than it was decades ago…

‘Now don’t say ‘what?’ say ‘ahh!’ and then listen.

There was this BBC TV program that asked the question, ‘do rich people have more power?’

And one lady guest who seemed to speak for the ‘privileged few’ said that, ‘rich people have more power and that, it’s 100 times more difficult for the working class individual to make it to the – middle-class.’

But why?

Well, as I found out, the most important answer is parenting.

Dr. Annette Lareau, the sociologist and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, on her book; ‘Unequal Childhood: Class, Race & Family Life (2003), writes that there are two forms, or types rather, of parenting:

  1. concerted cultivation and

  2. natural growth (which I believe I was brought up in)

And here is the difference between the two.

The first one (concerted…) is dominantly practised and revered by middle-class parents.

The basic of the style is that; they have more time for their children and at the same time, children are treated as equals to parents.

The results?

Well, children are equipped with:

  • reasoning skills
  • language skills
  • and ability to interact with respect to people of all ages due to boosted confidence.

This type of parenting also sets a well structured routine for children to follow.

In the later life, children who are brought up in this style of parenting are said to benefit from education system, and are well prepared for financial opportunities and advantages that are corporate based.

This is because as children, they are taught to respect authority and the system.

In other words, they are good followers, and in the end they make it to the corporate top.

On the other side however…

Well, you guessed it right; it’s a bit more of a chaos.

Parents are rushing to and from work and have little time left to concentrate on their children’s development.

So children are left to grow naturally…as they think right.

Now the effect of that is said to be:

  • lack of routine
  • poor confidence
  • disrespect to authority (that most of the time sets routine)
  • and the life – as much as 42% according to studies – continues on the same level as to that of their parents – work, work and more work. Which means less time for quality parenting.

The Times of London, on 25th May, 2012 had some important information for those aspiring to ascend to the middle-class lifestyle.

An opinion piece by Philip Collins said,

‘It’s now more common than ever for poor dads to marry poor mums. The nature and nurture interact and children from poor homes turn up on the first day of school, less literate, less enumerate and less articulate than their peers. There are exceptions to the rule, but as a rule, they never catch up.’

For that reason, I now believe that, what the guest at the BBC TV show said – ‘It’s a 100 times more difficult… blah, blah’ – has 90% possibility of being correct.

I guess that’s why Collins added towards the end of his column that;

‘There’s not a lot you can do but you can do something.’

But I have one courageous idea.

The idea that can encourage anyone; especially those who we have grown up in the so-called natural style – or, as I call it freestyle…

We can make it.

We truly can do it.

It’s not by war or hate, not by disrespect or complaints, not even by hurting others or taking some crooked shortcuts to cut a portion of good life to our side.

No at all.

It’s by:

  1. deciding that we want to progress
  2. to a specific direction
  3. then concentrate on our decisions
  4. but we must be determined to make it
  5. and with persistence, we can make it

The history has proved that no matter what person’s background has been, still, ‘nothing is impossible.’

The problem with most of us in the so called ‘working-class’ (I hate that term) is that we have no definite route at which to drive our lives to.

We don’t have what Napoleon Hill calls; ‘the definite chief aim’.

We stagger all over the place, as long as we manage to put some pears and potatoes on the table.

I think we ought to take it further than that.

Once we have our definite goal/s, we have to concentrate our efforts into that one thing.

And for sure, the rest will unfold with time.

Even so, I would like to emphasize that persistence is a very important ingredient in this recipe because often times, people give up when things are just about to go great.

Yes, the rule, as defined by Collins, points out that there’s no catching up once parenting has messed up in our pre-school lives.


There is nothing like that.

And it doesn’t matter.

What matters is to work as hard as it takes, and in line with the great laws that will take care of everything.

Yes, it might be 100% more difficult, but it isn’t 100% impossible.

In fact, it’s not difficult if we do what we want to do from an aligned point, an inspired feeling.

So off we follow our definite goals.

Off to take the plunge at any dimension of life we choose.

At times it might mean staying awake all night…or working over 12 hours straight… but guess what, if that is what we love doing, if that’s what fascinates us… then there’s only one outcome: great results.

And the good thing is, we will enjoy every minute of it.

Remember, wherever there’s will, there’s definitely a way as well.

Good luck.