In today’s society there is a lot of conversation around things such as inequality, disadvantage and privilege. Sometimes these are attributed and associated with certain ethnicities, class backgrounds or experiences. The idea that we should level the playing field of opportunity and create space for those less fortunate is a noble one – it’s also inherently a Christian one. After all, life is not about what we can get but what we can give. Success is to be shared and generosity to be encouraged (but not mandated of course).

Many of us didn’t start life with a hand out

Many of us and many of our parents did not come from prosperous backgrounds or start life with a hand out. Three out of four of my grandparents were immigrants and all had to work incredibly hard to lift themselves out of poverty and to try and establish themselves and their families in the UK. I’m grateful for many things about the start I’ve had in life and what has been carved out by those who have gone before but there have also been some very real difficulties to overcome.

We live in a remarkable age of opportunity

In reflection of all of this, I have however made a startling observation. We often forget that one of the greatest privileges in life is disadvantage itself. It creates hunger. Today, we now live in an age that is infinitely more prosperous and full of opportunity to succeed than ever before but it is ever so tempting for us to believe the popular voices that tell us otherwise. Particularly if you are a minority group.

A short trip into the history books will reveal this to be obviously true. Think sanitation, central heating and access to education just to name a few, let alone the technological advances that have been made. (You’re probably reading this on something like an iPhone).

Welcome to #FirstWorldProblems

My greatest fear for my kids is that their life will be too easy. Who doesn’t want their kids to have the best possible start in life? But no money, safety or comfort can buy hunger or drive. Welcome to #FirstWorldProblems. The quest for success that is birthed out of disadvantage is a most suitable motivator for change and breakthrough. Not that success itself will save anyone because life is more than just what others reckon of us but innate in us all is this sense of healthy desire to be significant.

Take a hold of your greatest asset

Be everything you never had. Turn your lack into innovation. Beat the odds and let’s change the narrative of disadvantage vs privilege. You don’t need a hand out or a pity party. We do need to reject the temptation to blame any failure we may experience on society around us. It negates our chance to grow and learn from our mistakes. What you need is to take a hold of the opportunity that lies in front of you and utilise your greatest asset: hunger.

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