Monday, May 21, 2018

I Have an Unfair Advantage

My life is full of unfair advantages.

I have supportive family and friends.

I live close to parks, walking trails, woods, and a beautiful river.

My health is good.

I was raised in a stable home.

Our house has climate control, electricity, gas, and running water.

We have a car that someone gave us for free.

I have a wonderful husband.

I have an incredibly flexible online job that I got by working as an intern with my mom.

I live in a climate well-suited to growing vegetables.

I was taught good spending habits early on.

I own a house in a beautiful part of town.

I belong to a great church.

I have access to tons of free resources, from Freecycle to Couchsurfing to the library and clothing swaps with friends.

The list could go on and on, but you get the point: every one of these was given to me with none or very little of my own volition. I do have some advantages that I chose— not having college debt, for instance, because I didn’t go to college— but sometimes I’m overwhelmed by how many parts of my life are wonderful in ways that have nothing to do with cause and effect.

It’s important to be aware of unfair advantages for three reasons. First of all, awareness creates gratitude. I’m thankful to God for placing me where and when he did, and thank him for all the good things he’s given me. Realizing that I don’t deserve these good things helps me to be more aware of the grace in my life.

Secondly, it’s important to pinpoint our unfair advantages because these are crucial leverage points. In permaculture, one of the core design principles is to make the least amount of change for the greatest impact. If you already have an unfair advantage in an area, leveraging it creates a huge impact for very little work. For instance, if you’re healthy to begin with, any changes you make to further your health are a lot more effective. If you’re not paying off a car, you can use the money you’re saving to improve other areas of your life.

Access to an oven + money for flour + library books = delicious bread
Finally, understanding your unfair advantages also gives you awareness of people who don’t enjoy these privileges, and gives you the means to help. Money is the obvious example; if you find it easy to make money, this allows you to give money away freely. However, there a countless other examples: if you’re emotionally stable you can be a strong support for friends who are struggling; if you have a beautiful house you can invite people to live with you; if you have access to a park you can take walks there to improve your emotional wellbeing, which ripples out to other people. Unfair advantages create abundance, and abundance is meant to be shared.

What unfair advantages do you have in your life? Are you making the most of them?


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