The difference between you and a refugee, is that you are lucky

armen melkonian_syrian refugee

While I choose to cover and comment on financial matters, like you, I see many people struggling, not only financially. Yes, life can throw you curveballs. Life has its bitter phases. Quite often, you can just be unlucky. I recall an interview with Armen Melkonian, a Syrian refugee that recently received Dutch citizenship. He is now working and sharing his skills and enthusiasm in his new community. He said:

the difference between you and a refugee is that you were lucky. 

While I like to stress the importance of personal commitment and responsibility in financial life, it is fair to say that some people are truly unlucky and are called to face horrible crises. The great Investor Warren Buffett somehow acknowledge the same thing, stating that some people just won the ovarian lottery by being born in the right country.

Clearly, even during those unlucky and meaningless moments, we are called to re-group, help each other and move on. Few people can do that though. Where does someone find the extra energy and vision to bring meaning and hope to overcome war, violence, loss or any other challenging personal or financial circumstances?

After all, if you lose your country, your house, your savings, your job; If the health and safety of your loved ones are in danger, how do you hold up?

In the past, I had already shared a few thoughts of psychiatrist Victor Frankl on success, happiness and a cause greater than you.

Let me now indulge with additional Frankl’s insights that I find inspiring:

  • “I would not share the opinion of Jean-Paul Sartre who said we have to accept the absolute meaninglessness of our lives. What I think is rather have to accept the incapacity to recognize the ultimate meaning in rational terms. Still, we may believe in an ultimate meaning. However, this is not a job of a psychiatrist but of a theologian”.
  • “Life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable ones”. 

  • “Our freedom is a finite and limited freedom. Human being are not fully free from conditions (biological, psychological, sociological, etc). But ultimate freedom is the freedom to take a stand to whatever condition might confront us. How we react to the unchangeable conditions is up to ourselves. If we cannot change the situation, we have always the last freedom to change our attitude to that situation”.
  • “Question: what is the difference between people that are able to pick up themselves up and those who are not? the decisive factor is the decision: the freedom of choice. I would like to become this way or another in spite of conditions. I wish to act as a responsible being, in accord with heredity and environment, but also if need be, in spite of the worst conditions”.