Today surfing Linked In, I came across the proceeding article that discussed having an unfair advantage in order to out-maneuver the competition and essentially, stay relevant.
While the advice is worth considering, it got me thinking.
Is there really such a thing as an “unfair” advantage?
I think, resoundingly, the answer is no.
Advantage is defined thusly, courtesy of Dictionary.com (just the first four):
1. any state, circumstance, opportunity, or means specially favorable to success, interest, or any desired end: the advantage of a good education.
2. benefit; gain; profit: It will be to his advantage to learn Chinese before going to China.
3. superiority or ascendancy (often followed by over or of ): His height gave him an advantage over his opponent.
4. a position of superiority (often followed by over or of ): their advantage in experienced players.
An advantage is an advantage, regardless of how it was come by. Can the advantage be termed as “immoral”, “unethical”? Sure. But unfair?
I am roughly 5’5”. My brother is 6’1”. If we play basketball, my brother might have the advantage of his height. If I practiced and played more, I would have the advantage of skill. Because I’m smaller, I might have the advantage of better maneuverability, and he the advantage of looming over me or shooting a longer, better basket, etc, etc.
Now with these things in mind, are they unfair? Is it unfair that I may (I don’t) have better shooting skills? Is it unfair that he’s taller than me? Not really. They’re more the circumstances or better yet – the variables to be taken into account by the subjects in the example. It is what it is, not what we want it to be, nor how we project it to be, or how we’d like it to be, but what it is. I’m average height and he’s tall. He’s overweight and out of shape, and I’m not. He’s played more basketball than me. All of these things work in tandem, with and against one another to produce certain outcomes – one a winner, a loser. Maybe a draw.
Using the word unfair in this context is akin to stating that somehow, the world works on this basis of rules where everything is meted out “fairly”, people get what they deserve (more aptly, what they want or they think they deserve), through hard work or not, and somehow, there is a just God who ensures these things happen for our benefit because we will it.
But then there’s that niggling adage of “Life’s not fair,” which comes full-circle to the concept that again, there is something unfair, overall, about life.
Which, in case you’ve been trapped in an air-tight plastic container lately, is true.
The rich are still better off than the poor. Big businesses still angle out little businesses. Short people are still short, and maybe without the aid of step ladders or growth hormones aren’t sprouting a few more inches. The strong triumph over the weak. And so on and so forth, ad nauseum.
The point is, fair is an ideal we strive for, not necessarily a reality. We can’t just expect someone to serve us a free lunch. That doesn’t happen.
As the Obamacare debacle has shown, things are definitely not fair, because apparently you can’t keep your health insurance.
But I digress.
Fairness is some fantasy land do-gooder’s wistful promise of placating our anxieties and hurt when things don’t go our way; or when businesses lose money; when someone dies and taxes suck up everything left in the inheritance; when some punk steals your crayons or glue just as you were about to use them.
So it’s unfair.
Don’t whine. Or complain. Or get even.
Suck it up and accept it. Advantages or not, people have what they have, and make the most of it.
|Mike Rowe could teach a thing or too about advantages|
Play it smart. Because fair is for those who expect things to happen by whining and daydreaming, not for the makers and doers who break the box finding another way that’s better, smarter, or just cleverer. And you can’t be upset that those people thought of it before you. You just need to figure out how to cleverly utilize either what you've got or what's around you.
And then the rest is up to you.