Started From The Bottom: Does Growing Up Without A Silver Spoon Make You Less Of A BOSS?

April 21, 2014  |  

Before I get into the nitty gritty of my position, know that I am aware that almost all statistics support the fact that growing up privileged leads to a greater rate of success in life. However, there are some distinct examples of people who grew up under some of the worst conditions becoming massively more successful than others from similar backgrounds. In some cases, more so than those from the most privileged backgrounds.

Malcom Gladwell, renowned author of books like Blink and Outliers, dedicated an entire book to this subject, in David and Goliath. He states:

“There is a set of advantages that have to do with material resources, and there is a set that have to do with the absence of material resources-and the reason underdogs win as often as they do is that the latter is sometimes every bit the equal of the former.”

Plainly put, growing up with disadvantages, can lead to significant advantages in life. For example, anyone who knows me knows that one of my favorite sayings is, “What’s the difference between me and Oprah?” It’s not quite grammatically correct, but a provoking thought all the same. To me Oprah’s upbringing is the epitome of struggle and what she has accomplished in her life is the epitome of success. She was mistreated, sexually abused and promiscuous as a teenager. However, Oprah’s grandmother taught her to read at a very young age and that was her escape all throughout her hardships. Even after gaining some stride in her career she was rejected several times, which she overcame with ease.

Oprah was treated so horribly as a youth that she knew she had seen and been through so much and still remained standing, that this built up a resistance, and as a result, confidence which helped her overcome rejection. Furthermore, by using books as a means to escape her troubles, she was able to craft her skills in communication and journalism which aided in propelling her success. Without these struggles would Oprah be who she is today?

How much did being blind contribute to make Ray and Stevie great? Or that the President of the United States grew up practically fatherless? And did I mention Oprah?

Malcolm Gladwell explains how people from privileged backgrounds face so little adversity, they don’t build up a sense to think outside the box because they don’t have to. Whereas when you live through adversity you may have to think outside the box on a daily basis just to survive.

We have to learn to embrace the struggle, turn our negatives into positives, and channel our anger into energy. For example, a product of the struggle could be considered fast talking, scheming, angry, and a hustler. In positive application, these same negative characteristic could transfer into being charismatic, convincing, thoughtful… and a BOSS.

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