“I used to be like you, but now I’ve found the answer, and here it is.”
This is the undercurrent of every personal development article you’ve ever read.
Perhaps nothing sells better than the “I once was lost but now I’m found” narrative. Hope is powerful currency. But I don’t want to dangle that in front of you any more.
You might not be like me. I might not be like you. In fact, I practically guarantee it.
Here are 6 advantages in life I’ve had that you may not have.
1. I am a white male
My naivete does not stretch so far as to think this has never been an advantage for me. In most corporate arenas, I can walk into the same room as a woman, we can say the same things, present the same persona, and I will be seen as:
- and confident.
While she will be seen as:
- a know it all,
- and arrogant.
Who am I to tell you to stop making excuses if I’ve never had to overcome any real social barriers? Who am I to tell you to “just do it” if my just doing it is applauded and yours is scorned?
I will speak words of encouragement, but unless I know it to be true, I will never claim to have been through what you’ve been through.
I grew up without money
Yes, this is an advantage.
I’ve written before about having beanie weanies for dinner. Not as a snack. Like that was the meal.
When you don’t have money, though, a funny thing happens:
Just like every human has done from the beginning of time, you adapt, you change. You adjust to your circumstances and keep going.
I learned to live on very little. Which means I don’t need much to survive. Which means now that I have money, I also have the mindset it takes to set aside dollars for a business, whether that be writing or making custom Snapchat geofilters.
Humans have lived with a lot worse than a lack of green paper and silver hunks of metal.
I had two teachers for parents
On the day my brother graduated high school, Dad started looking for a new job.
When he found one, he started jumping up and down with his hands in the air:
“I don’t have to be in a class full of children any more!”
Teachers don’t make much money, but every year between June and July, they are extended another luxury:
My dad worked for years at a job he wasn’t thrilled about that so he could spend 2 months with his sons.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Would you give up potentially thousands of dollars to spend time with anyone?
Would you do it to spend time with an ungrateful, wild, snot-nosed little brat?
Or two of them?
I don’t know if I would.
Both my parents did.
Bonus — call your parents today and say thank you. If nothing else, they kept you alive long enough for you to be able to read this.
I take tests well
And since remembering which bubbles are the right ones to fill in, I was shuffled into the “smart kids” classes when I was younger. That means better teachers, better resources, and better attention from the school system.
The American school system is broken. I just knew how play the game correctly.
I played a lot of golf
And here’s the thing about golf.
You lose. A lot. Like 99.9% of the time, you lose.
Which means you learn how to lose.
And it also means you understand what it takes to win.
I married an extraordinary woman
Who just happened to be my high school sweetheart. It would be a lie to tell you I have more time to write and do business because I’m married. It would be the truth to say there is a greater motivation to succeed when there are others at stake.
She encourages me, yet keeps my ego in check. She laughs at my jokes, but tells me when I’m being obnoxious. She expects a lot, and loves me no matter where we end up in life.
Okay, ready for my disadvantages?
I can’t think of any.
Sure, if I sat here and thought about it, I could come up with reasons I could be struggling, stumbling blocks that could take me down at any minute, life circumstances which rear their ugly head. Given time, I could come up with a million reasons I won’t succeed.
But I don’t think about them.
Is life fair? Of course not. Do I have tools and people you don’t? Probably. But the second you decide you are less of a person because of what you don’t have is the second you have lost.
Lost what? Your potential for money? Your shot at success? Your chance at fame?
No. I don’t care if you get any of those things.
When you focus on other people’s advantages, you will have lost your opportunity to be happy.
And that’s the ultimate advantage.