Crippled CEO Blog #111:
I am successful because of my unfair advantages.
It’s true. And I admit it.
Dr. Ali Abdaal, while reviewing the book, appropriately titled, “The Unfair Advantage”, put success into a formula that I immediately agreed with.
Success = Fair Play x Unfair Advantages
So, he defines “fair play” as stuff any of us can theoretically do. Getting up early, working hard, investing all your free time into improving, and so on — that’s fair play.
Unfair advantages are… exactly that. The founder of Snapchat, the youngest self made billionaire, came from a wealthy family. He had access to money and contacts that most people don’t have. Bill Gates, due to a bunch of factors, had nearly unlimited access to computers to learning programming on at a time when computer time was very difficult to get. He also had a really high IQ with a talent for that kind of work. These are all unfair advantages.
But these are kind of the obvious ones. What isn’t obvious is that we all possess unfair advantages. We just have to realize that we have them, and then we have to use them.
A lot of times, you might have an unfair advantage as part of something that you view as a weakness.
For instance — I’m now going to use the example that you were all 100% expecting me to use — I have curly hair. And because of my curly hair…
I have cerebral palsy.
And it tremendously sucks in a lot of ways. I have to use a wheelchair. I can’t cut up my own food. I need help bathing, dressing, and using the restroom. Fingering is challenging. Traveling is fraught with difficulties. I am probably going to die in 10 to 15 years. It’s not great.
But being crippled also gives me some very legitimate unfair advantages.
People are automatically nicer to me than they would be otherwise.
I am much more recognizable and easier to remember.
Strangers, especially women, are more likely to talk to me in public than a (much scarier) able-bodied man.
Being disabled makes all of the other things I accomplish seem more impressive and noteworthy.
People, and therefore the media, find what I do more interesting.
Living four decades with CP has made me ridiculously patient and a pretty fantastic problem solver — though it’s done nothing for my humility.
I save a lot of time and money not wearing shoes (which is immediately canceled out and replaced one thousandfold by everything else, but still).
You have at least one unfair advantage that you can and should use, and there’s a good chance that it’s something you think is hurting you. Start ups with no money end up being more innovative and ingenious. English isn’t your first language? You’re a lot closer than most to being bilingual. Blind? You can use your incredible hearing and martial arts skills to fight crime. Wait, that’s Daredevil. Maybe don’t do that. But you get the idea.
Life isn’t fair. Unfair things are going to happen to you all the time. It’s time you start being unfair back.
(Your mom likes all of my unfair advantages. But you don’t even want to know about hers. She also gets a weekly text with a link to my latest blog every Sunday. And it’s from a new number! Send a text to 561-726-1567 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the blog as soon as it’s up.)