Why beggars can’t be choosers in life


Kevin Mangelschots

To the victor go the spoils. This is a saying in life that’s by and large true.

We all most likely know someone who’s always complaining, even though they’re getting all the help in the world they could ever hope for. Maybe even much more assistance than we get on average. Yet, they’re still not content.

Even so, beggars can’t be choosers. We should learn to be content with the aid we receive when in need, even when it’s not perfect.

Not in a position of power

Picture of a man looking menacing in front of him with a laptop beside him.

Beggars can’t be choosers because they don’t put themselves in a position of power. And power equals choices.

Not the winners

The folks that get to pick are normally the winners. They are the ones who reap the rewards. They get the first pick of the litter, all the while the rest are left fighting over the scraps. Not only that, but they have to take what’s left instead of having the ability to pick first.

That’s the disadvantage of not having the courage or capacity to win. Competency tends to be rewarded. And without the necessary amount of bravery to attempt something challenging that can potentially also lead to failure, there can be no success.

No rewards without taking risks

Without risk, there can be no reward. And the greater the risk, the larger the reward typically is.

Not everyone is capable enough to be victorious, either. We’ve seen it time and time again. The best performers, be it at work, or sports, usually get the best payoffs. They might even get additional or special treatment that others might not get.

Life isn’t fair

This is often seen as unfair. And in a way, it might be. Let’s say that everyone puts in the same amount of effort, and some people stick head and shoulders above the rest, then is it fair that those special few get rewarded?

On the other hand, would it be fair to reward everyone equally simply based on putting in the same amount of effort? Isn’t it the result that matters most in the end?

Not to mention that begging is seen as a weakness, and for good reason. It reeks of insecurity and a low amount of self-esteem. Think of it this way, why would you beg when you were in control and in a position of power where you could just take what you wanted or deserved?

People respect strength and competence

Hand with marker writing, Skill concept. White background.

It is well known that people respect strength. And not only of the physical kind. But signals that indicate power, such as confidence, being in good physical shape, and talking clearly/honestly are typically rewarded in our society.

These days, the same nonsense has been spewed out endlessly. “Everyone is equal.” “You are perfect just the way you are.” “You can be whatever you want to be.” And that’s simply not true. None of them.

The only thing we’re truly equal in is that we’re all human. But we’re not equally smart, tall, strong, good-looking, competent, and so on.

Life isn’t fair, this is an inherent truth of life.

Accept all the help you receive, even when it’s not perfect

Any aid you get from those around you is a privilege. That’s why you should learn to accept and appreciate a favor when it comes your way. When someone throws you a bone, you should make sure to catch it.

Rarely is the support we get perfect, or exactly the way we would want it to be. Yet, any assistance we receive is an advantage and helps us to improve our lives.

Trying to improve is good, but some things we should learn to accept just the way they are. The assistance not being ideal is one of them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does “beggars can’t be choosers” mean?

A person holding a question mark in front of their face.

Beggars can’t be choosers means that people who are desperate and needy should not be too picky since they’re not in a position of power or privilege.

It conveys that people with no options should be content with what they’re given and offered, rather than being discontented and left wanting more.

Being in a position of power gives you privileges and advantages that others who are of a lower socioeconomic standing do not have.

The origin of, “beggars can’t be choosers”

Image of the earth globe.

The origin of the quote, “beggars can’t be choosers” goes back to at least the 1500s. It has much in common with the quote, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”.

Both phrases were first recorded being published by John Heywood. But the phrase was created long before any kind of support by the state for the poor was established. It was the widely accepted antique opinion of the folks back then that you should be grateful when someone provides you with a gift when you’ve asked for the aid of others.

The proverb, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, was registered firstly in Heywood’s 1546 version of ‘A Dialogue containing the number in the effect of all the Prouerbes in the English tongue’.

“Beggars should not be choosers” did first come out in the 1562 version of ‘Proverbs’.

Beggers should be no choosers, but yet they will:
Who can bryng a begger from choyse to begge still?

Beggars can’t be choosers synonyms

Synonyms for, “beggars can’t be choosers” are:

  • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
  • Any port in a storm.
  • Half a loaf is better than no loaf.
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • Necessity knows no law.
  • You can’t pick and choose.
  • Pickers can’t be choosers.

Example of “beggars can’t be choosers”

Image of the word “example” being written with a blue marker by someone's hand.

Let me give you a possible example of beggars can’t be choosers.

Bart is a high school student. And his grades are normally not good because he’s not interested in school. He usually barely passes because he rather hang out with his friends, play video games, and chase after women.

However, he finally put in the required effort to get good grades since he expects a large reward from his parents. He’s anticipating getting a big present such as a new PlayStation 5, or multiple video games.

Instead, he got 5 euros for his troubles because he studied well. His parents didn’t have to reward them but chose to do so anyway.

Unfortunately, Bart wasn’t too thrilled with this, in his eyes, small reward. But beggars can’t be choosers. He should accept the present, and be glad that he got something for just doing his duty anyway. Because in truth, his parents didn’t need to reward him at all.

In essence, the true reward has already been paid by his parents, which is paying for his education multiple years in a row.

Are beggars can’t be choosers offensive?

A woman feeling offended by another man.

Beggars can’t be choosers and can be considered offensive depending on the way someone takes them. Nevertheless, there is an uncomfortable truth hidden in the quote.

Virtuous folks typically find it somewhat offensive since they consider everyone equal, regardless of money, social class, or status. They believe that each individual has equal rights, and thus, should be treated evenly, no matter the circumstances.

In reality, though, beggars can’t be choosers since they’re not in a position of power and control. This might not be morally right, but it’s the truth. They need to be content with what they get since they’re not in a position to negotiate anything else.

I’m not saying that I always agree with that notion. I’m simply saying that when taken literally, it seems accurate, and the way it goes in the world.

Is beggars can’t be choosers an idiom?

Yes, beggars can’t be choosers is an idiom since the meaning can’t be deduced from these single words.

It means you must accept what is given to you when you ask for something. You’re not in a position, should you complain when you ask for something.

Final note

Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

Beggars are not choosers by default.

Sometimes it’s about learning to be happy with the things we do have, and the support we get from others, rather than constantly vying for something more prestigious.

Nevertheless, looking to improve oneself is admirable, it’s just that there are different ways of doing so.

Begging is not the way, and is seen as weak and slimy. Improving yourself to put yourself in a position of power by increasing your competence, however, is seen as commendable and worthy of respect.

Call to action

“Stop wishing start doing” written on a bottle.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, all the while trying to become as competent as humanly possible to put yourself in a position of power and privilege. This way, you can get what you want, but more importantly, deserve.

Still, learning to be satisfied with what we have currently, and accepting and being grateful for any help we get, is essential to being content in existence as well.

Refrain from begging or relying on others, since that behavior simply breeds weakness and bad patterns. But more importantly, it is not a reliable way to guarantee that you truly get what you deserve. And you, just as everybody else out there, deserve the best.

2 thoughts on “Why beggars can’t be choosers in life”

Comments are closed.