The moral peril in the meritocratic race

Many of the people I admire lead lives that have a two-mountain shape. They got out of school, began their career, started a family and identified the mountain they thought they were meant to climb - I'm going to be an entrepreneur, a doctor, a cop. They did the things society encourages us to do, like make a mark, become successful, buy a home, raise a family, pursue happiness.

People on the first mountain spend a lot of time on reputation management. They ask: What do people think of me? Where do I rank? They're trying to win the victories the ego enjoys.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2019, with the headline 'The moral peril in the meritocratic race'. Print Edition | Subscribe