Meritocracy; its philosophy, practice and importance

by Maddie Anandarajah November 14, 2016

Meritocracy in itself is a simple concept; those who work hard, gain merit and develop skill will succeed.

It is a simple reality we are taught from our earliest school years where we saw the concept materialise. Back then, it was the simple equation of ‘get good grades, get good jobs’. The system we have in place allows us immense control over our own future. It is not just restricted to grades of course; it may have been the time and effort you invested into your extra-curricular activities that allowed you to turn your passion into a career.

Meritocracy is, however, more than just about merit. Reading between the lines, it is a concept of progression and freedom; we are all able to rise among the ranks because of how our society functions and what it values; skill. This means that our succeeding is not reliant on external factors and demographics but purely on the decisions you make. Pushing it further, it is an extension of democracy; by advocating opportunities accessible to all.

The philosophy is flawless and we see it implemented in the world of work. The world of work is almost synonymous with the concept. Why? Because we see the infrastructure built deeply into our society. Alongside experience, the existence of degrees, Master’s, PhD’s all the way to apprenticeships, internships and volunteering roles all help us to move in the right direction. By building experience, qualifications and soft skills we are able to better ourselves and add additional value to any of our ventures. 

So what does Meritocracy do for you? It gives you full control on where you are going and how fast you’ll get there. Of course, there are other variables that affect your progression such as the existent economic climate. Yet, the destination relies on you. So whatever position you are in, meritocracy holds you responsible and that is the beauty of it. You are less a victim of the job market and more the captain of your ship you steer. It empowers you to move.

More than that, it gives you a full view of the endless possibilities stretching ahead of you rather than leaving you facing a brick wall. In many ways, it leaves you optimistic and filled with prospects. Meritocracy encourages you to pursue your passions and adapt a lifestyle of hard work and great rewards.

If you are in a place where you can reasonably call yourself successful, it most likely did not fall into your lap. You started somewhere where you had less than and built that plan. It prepared you with not just physical skill, but with resilience and ambition i.e. it prepared you with the right mindset. So whether you believe meritocracy to be too good to be true; held back by politics and social justice issues, or a given in the society we live in, internalising its values will help you grasp the opportunities available to you and encourage you to take them.

Maddie Anandarajah
Maddie Anandarajah


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