Alain de Botton

The work we do is supposed to reflect our talents, intelligence, and so on. Therefore, the meritocratic idea that you “make your own luck” is a very punishing one and explains many people’s anxiety and depression over the work they do.

A society in which only extraordinary achievements are valued is setting most people up for a cruel fall. You’re no more likely to become as wealthy as Bill Gates than a 17th-century peasant was to become as wealthy as Louis XIV of France. Give your employees realistic expectations and tell them you value what they do now — not what they might become in the future.

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