Since I found it inspirational, I'm posting it in my LJ.
I can see this not being an overly popular view, but hey... I think the other heathens here can handle it so I am going to share it with you.
The World Owes You Nothing
For most of us growing up in the highly protected and secure first world nations of this planet, it is often difficult to understand that while we have welfare, social security, employment insurance, police forces, and military protection in place, the world as a whole does not owe us anything. These things are meant to be aids in time of need, yet many in our nations use them as their life's blood - their main source of sustanence and protection. We rely on them, and as a result we are turning into a nation of babies incapable of functioning without these safety nets. Many of us never grow up, and few of us will ever know what are potential really is.
Some people today (especially those into new age spirituality... no offence to those who are) believe that the world only gives you what you're capable of handling. To me this is bull droppings. Truth is, life will give us what it will. In some cases this will be something we can handle, but in others it will be potentially outside of our ability. Nature really doesn't give a rats behind about us, or our lives. It'll kill or nurish based upon events that happen, but such events are not based upon love or hate, they simply are. Our ability to handle or not handle such situations is based not on the rest of the world so much as on our own ability to be prepared. Our willingness to push our boundries a bit to see what we're capable of might be what saves our own butts one day.
There is also a common belief that if you can visualize a goal, and see it as happening, you can make it happen. Not 100% true... There is truth in the idea that your odds are increased by such things, but this world is based upon conflict (otherwise known as competition) and not everyone who aims for a goal, no matter how hard they try, no matter how intelligent their plan, is going to achieve that goal. What is certain... The harder you're prepared to go for it, the more you're prepared to commit to it, the more likely it is that you will achieve it. Slackers and babies rarely make it far beyond their starting point... unless of course they have someone to carry them (which is too often the case).
There is a post here called "Comfort books" or something to that effect. A nice thread, but I don't have one I have a PC game that I am in love with however. It's called "Rune" and it's a poorly researched game based upon the Vikings and their mythology (with a LOT of imagination thrown in). The game starts off with you completing your "becoming a man" ceremony, and moves rapidly into action. Your father and all other warriors in your village are killed, and you are thrown overboard to wake up deep underground in some caves. You then begin the assent towards the surface. Why is this relavent to the above? Well... Dispite the fact that it is most certainly a complete work of fiction it has one central theme that caught my attention recently. A quote from Odin, when he finally lets you know that it was him that woke you up, and saved you from death... "Do not squander this opportunity!" At first glance one would think "what opportunity???" I mean... after he says that you are forced to fight your way literally through Hel, and worse places in an effort to see your father avenged. This isn't an opportunity, at least not to our eyes today. Yet it IS an opportunity in a very true sense. It is a chance to achieve a goal, even if it is hard as"Hel". An opportunity to prove yourself on a most fundamental level. It is the best opportunity one could hope for IMO.
People everywhere are faced with these opportunities (though hopefully less violent and world changing... lol... we live in the real world after all) every day. If we draw breath we have the opportunity to achieve whatever it is in our hearts to achieve. Whatever goals we seek to attain. If we can dedicate ourselves to them, work hard, educate ourselves... We can achieve anything... or at least we can give it our best and die with some sense of dignity. To die without ever working for your goals, is to die a straw death, empty and meaningless in the only eyes that really matter... yours.