Sometimes, I often wonder why some people have very smooth lives. Everything they do ends successfully, where other people have to accept their fate that they failed in everything.
We used to always think that success comes from hard work, only people who work 100 hours a day can be successful. But now, that perspective seems to have changed.
If we look at social media, when someone shares their achievements, some comment,
"Don't be arrogant, you can do this because your parents are rich,"
"Of course you did, you have a lot of privileges,"
which makes it seems as if the person's achievements are not from his own efforts, but because he has the privileges.
Many people think that if they also have that person's privileges, they can also achieve the same thing. Though, it's not like that.
We don't know what he's been through. It could be that apart from his rich parents, he also works day and night to earn all of that.
Well, according to Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba in their book, The Unfair Advantage, success is a combination of these two things, fair advantage (hard work) and unfair advantage (privileges).
It's called a fair advantage if someone is successful, and we can say, "It's okay, it's fair". Mainly because he works hard.
For example, suppose someone starts a new shop, wakes up early to clean up the shop, and serves the customers well. In that case, we can see that his effort is worthy of making his business successful. Everyone can imitate this hard work if they want to, that's why it's called "fair".
Privileges and other things that not everyone has can be called Unfair Advantage. For example, his parents were rich and bought their child the most strategic place and the most modern building for their child's new shop.
Usually, this privilege can be much more helpful than hard work. Because it will be useless if the shop's service is good, but the place is not strategic, there is no parking spot, and the building is dirty. The shop will have no customers.
Unfortunately, life is not that fair. Some people clearly have advantages that make them so far above us. However, if we look closely, everyone has advantages and disadvantages, and everyone also has their own privileges.
We are not aware of what privileges we actually have and we can use for our success.
Privilege is not just for the rich and famous guy. Everyone has it. How do we know what privileges we have? For that, The Unfair Advantage describes the MILES framework.
M for Money #
Money can't buy everything, but everything needs money, right? Or reverse it, everything needs money, but money isn't everything.
For example, in the case of the new shop owner, he has the privilege of money, which really helps his business. Don't worry. If this is not the privilege that we have, there are still four more below.
I for Intelligent / Insight #
We often see people who are successful because they are geniuses. After all, smarter people can definitely be one step or two steps ahead of others. However, being smart is not enough. You still have to work for it.
L for Location / Luck #
Ray Kroc, the pioneer of McDonald's, once said,
"The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it."
Location is crucial. Companies in Jakarta can certainly make good connections and access their target market to open up more opportunities than if the company was located in nowhere city.
Luck itself can actually also be included in fair advantage. Why? Because luck doesn't just happen. It comes to those who are prepared for it to happen.
We can design and plan our own luck by doing more actions, finding more people, attending more events, publishing our works, etc. By doing more things, God willing, we can open up opportunities for ourselves and invite luck to come.
E for Education / Expertise #
The book states that there are three things that we can get if we have a higher education; knowledge, network, and signalling. Even though in this day many students and even myself admit that more knowledge is obtained from outside the campus.
I took a course on programming on Udemy. In my opinion, I got more knowledge from the course than from my lecturer.
But for the network, it's true. Many relationships and acquaintances can be made on campus.
Signalling? There are many companies now that don't really care about which college did we graduate from. They care more about what we can do and what skills we have.
S for Status #
I don't need to explain this one. Just look at Cristiano Ronaldo, who is arguably the most famous person on earth. That's why all the things he sells definitely will be sold out. Perfume, denim, underpants, you name it.
However, we can build an inner status within ourselves, such as confidence and self-esteem.
The MILES concept above can help us find out what unfair advantages we have and we can take advantage of.
That way, we can know which path to take later to optimize all our strengths and cover or develop our weaknesses.
Don't fall into an environment that doesn't value our strengths and instead emphasizes our weaknesses.
What if we don't have any from the MILES? Everyone has privileges. Even Hasan Kubba, the author of The Unfair Advantage, said that lack of money is also a privilege.
Lack of money makes people creative. For example, startups that have a large capital backing will promote their business through big ads too. However, promotion through ads only burns money, it's not organic, and it won't last long.
Being in a strategic location in a big city is also not always profitable. We have to compete with many people who have the same or better skills as us. The cost of living is also much more expensive.
As Ash and Hasan say in their book,
"It's not about focusing on the negatives, it's about knowing the realities and leveraging the unfair advantages that we do have to help us live our best lives."
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career concept privilege