After we sleep, we wake — up. When we fall, we get — up. When we feel low, our moods are lifted — up. When we are held down — we rise up. And when we start at the bottom, we move — up. Or do we?

Up seems natural. It’s reflexive. It’s how we want to be and where we want to go. But it is not easy. Up signifies progress. But it often means a long climb.


In my life, I have struggled with questions. How did I get here? Why did the American Dream work so well for me but not for others? How did it become possible for me to move from the bottom towards the top, when 94% of the time that doesn’t happen? Was it hard work or dumb luck? Was it good genes or good grades? What major influences and minor moments led me to where I am?

What is my story? What is yours?

Moving Up is an attempt to explore these questions for both myself and you the reader. It contains fragments of truth collected over time and woven together, all driving towards some kind of answer. They include stories reflecting on the success of famous, as well as unknown, individuals, slices of science separating myths from meaning, and clipped moments seared into my long-term memory because they comport with a story I like to tell myself.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Taken individually, each offers a moment to pause, reflect, and maybe learn something interesting. Collectively, I hope they offer more than this — an opportunity to see your station in life in a whole new light.


It starts with you. Look around in your neighborhood, at your job, across the table at your loved ones. How exactly did you arrive at your station in life? Is everyone the same as you or are you the outlier? Did you rise or fall from your parents’ place in the world? Or maybe you’re exactly where you started — for better or worse. Did you leave others behind you? Or were you left in their wake?

We don’t often like to answer these types of questions. Not just because they make us think, but because the answers make us feel.

The idea is simple: if we can help people reflect on their own life experiences, research shows two valuable things will happen. We become more grateful about our own lives and have more compassion for those who are struggling to live a better life.

Gratitude and compassion — two things our world can never get enough of.

I am very honored to have been invited to share the ideas from Moving Up on Thrive Global. It is the perfect home for this kind of content and I look forward to contributing here regularly.

Please click the green heart below to help others find this story, leave a comment, or share this with a friend.

And if you’re interested in receiving our weekly email, delivering inspiration and perspective every Monday morning, please sign up here.

Originally published at medium.com