Is Advantage A Disadvantage?

A Critical Doer understands time; long and short view

A Critical Doer controls what is theirs to control

 Here’s a question for you to ponder.  Is advantage an…advantage…or disadvantage?

Let’s begin with how the average person would define advantage when it comes to the game of life.  A typical definition would include education from a prestigious school, access to people of influence, and financial means to either buy time during a start-up or create an opportunity.

Karen Blankenship recently published an article in Forbes Magazine entitled “Rags to Riches 2015:  Billionaires Despite the Odds.”  In the article, Blankenship goes through numerous vignettes of billionaires from around the world who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths.  Many of today’s billionaires were orphans, lacked formal education, suffered from learning disabilities, immigrated and worked low paying jobs, supported their families as children…in other words, these people are self-made.

In looking at their stories, there are some lessons we can learn and apply in our own lives to find a deeper level of success and do more.

  1. Sometimes advantage can lead to a sense of complacency and entitlement. Without exception, the relative disadvantage of the billionaires highlighted in this article taught them one of life’s greatest lessons…resiliency.  Many highly capable people never reach fulfillment because they feel entitled rather than empowered when the challenges of life come to call.  Appreciating the long and short view of time helps set the landscape to fight back from a setback.
  2. Passion that drives a craftsman’s depth of knowledge and skill. I love the stories of billionaires who started by sweeping floors at the factories they now own.  A ground up depth of learning makes you appreciate the nuanced details that turn a profession into a passion…the place where human fulfillment really lives and allows you to do more.
  3. The start is not the determining factor of the finish. Anyone who reads these stories should come to an inescapable conclusion…success is possible for anybody from any starting point.  The strength of character to push through adversity will take you farther than formal education and start-up capital.


Critical Doers, it’s crucial that you have a firm grasp of what an advantage truly is in order to consistently turn critical thinking into critical doing.  To gain advantage, commit to controlling what is yours to control and appreciating the value of time.  Your focus must be on your objective at all times, not the perceived level of relative advantage at the start.  This focus will make you resilient enough to move forward in the face of adversity.

If you put these lessons into action, you will definitely do more than you thought was possible.  One day when Forbes publishes your story, the record will show you were found with minds that could dream…eyes that could see…hearts that were willing…hands that were able…to accomplish great deeds and find fulfillment.  It’s what a Critical Doer would…do!


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Updated: March 23, 2015 — 1:42 pm

1 Comment

  1. One can have all the advantages in the world, but if they don’t use them when they occur, (i.e. “take advantage of”) it is all for naught. Some folks who are handed “advantages” from their parents lack the drive, motivation, determination and passion to grab hold of them and make the most of them. Often, it is those who have had to struggle, and are “hungry” for their goal that are most motivated to attain that goal and eager to “jump on” any opportunity (advantage) that crosses their path. Folks who have had everything handed to them sometimes expect everything to be easy for them and will only put forth “X” amount of effort when “xy and z” are needed.

    A good example is my cousin Rick and I. Rick breezed through high school and rarely had to study to make A’s. I struggled, and had to work twice as hard for B’s and C’s. However, when we hit college as roommates, Rick had a hard time and had to repeat several classes to get the grade he needed…all because he’d never learned how to study. I still had to work hard for my grades, but I never had to repeat a class for the grade I needed.

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