Whether or not something is an advantage (and can therefore be called “unfair”) depends entirely on your perspective.
Before go into a debate about the pros and cons of each of those individually though, I want to start with an old children’s tale from my country:
There was once a hare (we’ll call him Rabbit) who was the fastest runner in all the world. He started running as soon as he was born and he never stopped.
Rabbit started entering races not because he really cared – he knew he was fast – but because everyone encouraged him to. Naturally, he was the winner every time.
No one could beat him.
Soon, people grew tired of seeing Rabbit run. He always won, so why bother even racing against him? Rabbit nearly stopped running altogether, because now he was only running to win races.
One day, a Tortoise (we’ll call him Turtle) came to Rabbit’s town. He saw the race advertisements and prizes and asked about the races. People laughed at him, but said “If you want to race Rabbit, go right ahead.”
Rabbit was thrilled to have an opponent.
Turtle was not fast, but he had been studying Rabbit all his life. He had been watching the races. he figured that if he just kept focused and did his thing, he might have a shot.
Rabbit and Turtle started the race together, with Turtle sticking to his plan. Rabbit didn’t actually have one other than “I’ll just wait it out a bit, then swoop In and pick up my prize.”
Rabbit grew impatient for Turtle to get to the finish line. He asked if he wanted to be carried part of the way.
Turtle replied, “I can do this on my own, thank you.”
Rabbit started running in laps.
Turtle inched closer to the finish line.
Rabbit went off and had a lovely meal, full of food and wine.
Turtle inched closer.
Rabbit fell asleep.
Turtle inched his way across the finish line.
Rabbit woke up, darted to the finish line – but everyone was gone already, celebrating the new victor.
Rabbit had lost, for the first time in his life.
This completely shook his worldview.
He took stock of this, went to the pub where Turtle was being celebrated and demanded a rematch in a year.
Rabbit trained and trained. He focused on his goal and was in the best shape of his life.
When the time came, Rabbit was ready.
As soon as they said “Go” Rabbit was a blur.
Turtle was barely an inch off the starting line when Rabbit was declared the winner.
(Much thanks to Greg McKeown for giving me the different perspective on the Tortoise and Hare story :))
My point in telling this is that you can’t control their circumstances of birth. What is in your control is your speech, actions and your perceptions and emotions.
If you are born into a rich family, you will likely look upon the poor as receiving unfair advantages in the form of government aid. (Yes, this is absolutely true even if people wish to deny it.)
I first realized it when applying to colleges and hearing consistently from many of my friends complaining that they didn’t qualify for any financial aid because their parents made too much money and that was ridiculous because that meant they couldn’t afford to go to an Ivy League and they’d have to slum it at a lesser school while some “poor public school kid” was going to get their slot. Rich snobbery at its worst.
And on the other side of the coin, from my lower-income friends, there are things like, “It was easy for you to get Straight A’s in school – you didn’t have to worry about where your next meal was coming from, or getting evicted, or being beaten by your parents, or …” And, “You knew you were going to college. For the rest of us, we have to think about things like jobs and being part of the real world.“
I think what it comes down to is that people naturally need something to compete against. They will automatically perceive whatever they don’t have as “unfair.”
He’s rich and I’m poor? Unfair!
She’s thin and I’m fat? Unfair!
He’s a genius and I’m moderately intelligent? Unfair!
She’s from America and I’m from India? Unfair!
I actually see a problem with identifying these “unfair advantages.” I see this as a great opportunity.
If something strikes a chord with you, then use that as your goal. Work toward changing something about yourself is that you can gain that same advantage.
I like to think that Turtle and Rabbit continued rematching each other year after year, passing victory back and forth, and even starting to encourage others to join in.
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-most-unfair-advantage-a-person-can-have
Originally Posted On: 2016-02-28