You know, life isn’t always fair. Some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, blessed with advantages that give them a head start and open doors that remain closed for others.
But today let’s talk about the unfair advantages in life that no one really mentions—the ones that quietly shape our lives in meaningful ways without most people even realizing it. Ever notice how some folks just seem to breeze through life’s challenges with a smile? How does everything seem to just fall into place for certain charmed individuals? There are subtle forces at work—invisible hands that smooth the way.
The truth is, luck and circumstance play a far greater role in life’s outcomes than we usually care to admit. Sure, hard work and perseverance matter. But some people do get a boost, an extra leg up, or an unfair advantage. And today we’re going to look at some of those unspoken advantages that make a bigger difference than you might imagine. Sound interesting? Then read on, my friend. See if you have one of these unfair advantages examples. Life’s hidden shortcuts await!
Table of Contents
1. Accumulating Wealth at a Young Age
Accumulating wealth at a young age is one of life’s biggest advantages. The earlier you start saving and investing, the more time your money has to grow through the power of compound interest.
Even saving a little bit, like $25–$50 a month in your 20s, can make a huge difference down the road. In 40 years, that could turn into $30,000–$60,000 or more! The stock market averages about 7% annually after inflation, so any money you sock away in broad market index funds at a young age will likely far outpace the growth you’d see in a regular savings account.
Another advantage is that when you’re young, you can afford to take on more risk. You have time to ride out the ups and downs of the market. As you get closer to retirement, you’ll want to shift to more stable investments, but in your 20s and 30s, go for growth!
The good news is that it’s easier than ever for young people to start investing on their own. There are many free or low-cost trading apps and robot advisors that make the process simple. The most important thing is just getting started, even if it’s with a small amount. Develop the habit of paying yourself first and watch your net worth grow over time through the miracle of compounding returns.
Financial success often comes down to the small, consistent actions we take every day. Give your future self the gift of starting that process as early as possible. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make!
2. Access to Elite Education and Social Connections
You know, some people just seem to get all the breaks in life. Things always just seem to work out for them, don’t they? Well, my friend, it may not just be luck; often there are some unfair advantages at play that you may not even realize.
Take access to elite education, for instance. If someone’s parents can afford to send them to the best private schools and tutors, that gives them a leg up that’s hard to match. They make valuable social connections, gain knowledge and skills, and develop confidence from an early age. By the time they’re applying for college or jobs, they’ve got a polished resume and the right names to drop.
Then there are those fortunate enough to be born into families with powerful social connections. Doors open, introductions are made, and opportunities arise. Mentors appear as if by magic. Getting ahead becomes that much easier when you’ve got the right people in your corner to vouch for you.
While life may never be completely fair, don’t lose hope! Focus on surrounding yourself with people who support and care about you. Work on building skills and experience. Look for chances to network and make new connections in your industry. With passion and persistence, you can create your own luck. The odds may be stacked against you, but that will only make your success that much sweeter! Stay focused on your dreams, and don’t let any unfair advantages hold you back.
3. Access to Advanced Healthcare
Having access to advanced healthcare is an unspoken advantage many take for granted. With cutting-edge medical technologies and highly trained doctors at your disposal, you have a safety net to catch you if anything goes awry health-wise.
When you have the means to afford elite healthcare, you open yourself up to a world of medical possibilities. Experimental treatments, clinical trials of new drugs, high-tech diagnostics, and obscure specialists become available to you. If you come down with a rare condition, you have physicians with expertise who are actually studying and treating it. They have seen hundreds of similar cases and know exactly what to do.
For serious medical issues, access to the best surgeons and facilities can mean the difference between life and death. They have the latest tools, techniques, and experience to handle complex procedures with higher success rates and lower risks. For example, if you need an organ transplant, you go to the top of the list at an esteemed hospital and get the freshest, highest-quality organ available.
Even for routine care, top-tier healthcare provides advantages. You see renowned doctors who keep up with cutting-edge research and have connections to other world-class specialists. They take the time to thoroughly assess your health, explain options, and create customized prevention plans.
While healthcare may be a basic human right, the reality is that the level of care you receive depends greatly on your location and financial means. If you have access to elite healthcare, count yourself lucky. Your good health and longevity are invaluable, so take full advantage of the best medical system in the world. Stay on top of recommended screenings, address any health issues promptly, and make the most of all the advantages advanced healthcare offers you. Your body and mind will thank you for it!
4. Being Born Into a Family of Influence
Being born into an influential family provides some pretty unfair advantages in life. When your last name alone opens doors and provides opportunities, it’s hard not to succeed.
Connections Are key.
Having well-connected parents means having access to networks that can accelerate your success. Whether it’s getting into a top college, landing a prestigious internship, or being introduced to investors, family connections make things happen. While the average Joe is cold calling and networking to build relationships, you’ve got a fast track to networking through family, friends, and business associates.
Growing up around family members immersed in business, politics, or other influential fields means you’ve likely picked up knowledge, skills, and ways of thinking that provide a head start. You understand how things work behind the scenes and have a sense of confidence from constant exposure to high-achieving role models. This “insider” know-how and way of viewing the world is an advantage others have to gain through experience.
For those born into wealth, money is no obstacle. You’ve got the means to take risks, make investments, and pursue opportunities without worrying about paying the bills. Whether it’s paying for an elite education, starting a business, funding a passion project, or just enjoying an extravagant lifestyle, money provides options and a safety net. This financial freedom allows you to focus on more meaningful pursuits rather than getting stuck in the rat race.
While life’s not exactly fair, we can still work to create a society with equal opportunity. But for those lucky enough to be born with influence, take a moment to appreciate your good fortune. And consider using your unfair advantages to help lift others too. Spread the wealth, open doors, and pay it forward! The world will be better for it.
5. Physical Attributes and Attractiveness
Being born with certain physical attributes or an attractive appearance can be an unspoken advantage in life. When you’re considered conventionally good-looking, doors seem to open more easily, and opportunities come knocking.
People generally perceive attractive individuals as being happier, healthier, and more successful. This can lead to preferential treatment in social situations and the workplace. Studies show attractive people tend to get hired more easily, be promoted faster, and make higher salaries. Their pleasing appearance gives them an edge in networking and forming new relationships.
Of course, appearance is subjective and culturally dependent. What one person finds appealing, another may not. But in general, symmetrical facial features, clear skin, bright eyes, full lips, and a fit body are traits that are widely considered attractive across cultures. If you were born with some or all of these attributes, you have an advantage, whether you realize it or not.
While appearance certainly isn’t everything, it does play a role in how people judge and interact with each other. Recognizing the benefits of your physical attractiveness—and using them strategically—can help open more doors. At the same time, don’t rely only on your looks. Develop your character, skills, and talents to create a full package that gives you a competitive edge in life.
Looks may provide unspoken advantages, but they are certainly not the only keys to success or happiness. With hard work and perseverance, people of all appearances can achieve their dreams. While acknowledging the role appearance plays, focus on developing your talents, strengths, and winning personality.
6. Geographic Location and Place of Birth
Where you’re born and where you grow up can have an enormous impact on your life, often in ways you don’t even realize. Some places just seem to have more built-in advantages than others.
Maybe you were born in a bustling, world-class city with endless opportunities, connections, and resources at your fingertips. The simple fact of being surrounded by movers and shakers gives you an edge in making key connections and finding exciting new paths in life. Or perhaps you grew up in an area with a low cost of living, affordable housing, and financial security—free from many of the stresses that hold others back.
On the flip side, some locations can pose extra challenges through no fault of your own. If you were born in an isolated rural area or a run-down neighborhood, you likely faced more obstacles to accessing education, healthcare, job opportunities, and financial security. But don’t lose hope! While location matters, determination and grit matter more. Many highly successful people overcame disadvantaged beginnings through hard work and perseverance.
Your place of birth is merely a starting point. With vision and dedication, you can transcend your circumstances. Seek out mentors who can guide you. Develop skills and make connections through online courses and networking. Save money for additional education or relocation to an area with more prospects.
Where you start in life doesn’t define where you end up. While some are born with geographic advantages, the human spirit has an amazing way of rising above and forging new paths. Don’t let location hold you back—you have the power to create opportunities and write your destiny. Make the most of the resources around you, then spread your wings and fly!
7. Generational Wealth and Inheritance
One unfair advantage in life that often goes unspoken is generational wealth and inheritance. If you’re born into a family with money and assets, you’ve won the lottery of life in a way. You have opportunities and a level of financial security that others do not.
While wealth isn’t everything, it certainly makes life easier. You have access to the best education, healthcare, housing, and connections. You can take bigger risks, like starting a business, without fear of going bankrupt. If things don’t work out, there’s a financial safety net to fall back on.
Generational wealth also has a snowball effect. The more money and assets your family has, the more it can grow over time through investments, trust funds, and compound interest. By the time it’s passed down to you, it’s a small fortune. You can use part of it to set up your children and grandchildren for life, continuing the cycle.
Of course, inheriting money doesn’t guarantee happiness or success. Many wealthy heirs end up squandering family fortunes through mismanagement, excess lifestyle spending, or a lack of purpose and motivation in life. But for those who use their inheritance wisely, it’s an incredible gift that provides lifelong security and opportunity.
While life may never be completely fair, generational wealth is one of the most unfair advantages. If you weren’t born into money, don’t despair. With hard work, education, prudent financial management, and a little bit of luck, you can still build wealth and success for yourself and your family over time. Leave behind your legacy and change the trajectory of generations to come.
8. Possessing a High Intelligence or Special Ability
Being born with high intelligence or a special ability is like winning the life lottery. Some people are just born smarter, more creative, athletic, or talented in ways that give them a head start in life.
You were born with an innate gift for learning new skills quickly. Your mind is sharp as a tack, and you breeze through complex problems that stump others. School was always easy for you, and you didn’t have to study as hard to get good grades. This unfair advantage has opened up opportunities that others have to work much harder for.
Some people are born with a special talent or skill that seems almost superhuman. Maybe you have perfect pitch, allowing you to play music by ear. Or you’re double-jointed, giving you a natural advantage in gymnastics or dance. These natural-born talents are a boon that provides a boost up the ladder of success.
Not only are you able to achieve more with less effort, but you also gain confidence and motivation from early wins that create a cycle of continued success. While hard work and perseverance still matter, you get an extra push from the random chance of being born with intellectual or physical gifts.
Of course, having a high IQ or special skill is not a guarantee of an easy life or achievement. But all else being equal, these natural advantages give you a leg up that is simply a matter of luck. Success may come more easily to you, opening doors that remain closed for others who were not born with the same gifts. Recognizing and appreciating these unfair benefits can help foster more empathy and understanding for those not born with the same good fortune.
9. Having Access to Advanced Technology Early On
Having access to advanced technology at a young age provides some serious advantages later in life. If you grew up with the latest gadgets and gizmos, you developed technical skills and a level of comfort with technology that many of your peers lacked.
As a kid, you probably spent hours tinkering with electronics, figuring out how the latest toys and games worked. All that experimenting wired your brain for the fast-paced digital world. You became adept at learning new interfaces and troubleshooting issues. Those skills translate directly to success in many modern careers.
You were also an early adopter of new communication tools like instant messaging, texting, and social media. Interacting with friends through technology felt like second nature. Now, as an adult, you’re primed to collaborate on virtual teams, build professional networks online, and market yourself or your business using the latest digital strategies.
Having a head start with technology provided other advantages, too. You had more time to build an online presence, establish yourself as an authority in your field of interest, and connect with like-minded people around the globe. You gained valuable experience participating in online communities and creating content to share with others.
While not always fair, having access to advanced technology early in life can be a huge advantage. Don’t feel guilty about the benefits and opportunities it affords you. Instead, use your skills and experience to help others adapt to our increasingly digital world. Mentor those less familiar with the technology. Create resources to spread your knowledge. Make the most of the unfair advantages you gained to help level the playing field for future generations.
10. Speaking the Dominant Language
Speaking the dominant language of a country or region provides so many exciting opportunities! When you can communicate effortlessly in your native tongue, a whole new world opens up to you.
Make New friends.
Speaking the local language allows you to connect with people on a deeper level. Strike up a conversation with someone at your favorite coffee shop or while waiting in line at the store. Compliment them, ask them about their day, and listen to their stories. You never know; you may make a new lifelong friend!
Explore the Culture
Immerse yourself in the culture by engaging with media, entertainment, and everyday conversations in your new language. Catch the latest blockbuster movie, read the morning newspaper, or tune into a popular radio station. You’ll pick up on cultural references and humor that would otherwise go over your head. Each discovery is a delight!
Open Up Opportunities
When you speak the dominant language, more opportunities become available to you. You’ll have an easier time finding a good job or advancing your career. Making business deals, collaborating with colleagues, and networking are far simpler when communication barriers disappear. Speaking the local language fluently demonstrates your ability to adapt and connect, which many employers find valuable.
Travel to new places and navigate confidently without relying on translations or struggling to ask basic questions. Strike up a conversation with a fellow traveler or chat with locals to get their recommendations on the best places to visit. Speaking the language allows you to appreciate each destination so much more profoundly. You’ll return home with memories to last a lifetime!
Learning a new language takes dedication and hard work, but the rewards of speaking the dominant tongue are well worth the effort. Open your mind to new cultures, forge meaningful connections, and unlock opportunities for adventure. The world is at your fingertips, so go out and embrace all the possibilities!
11. Luck and Opportunity
Being in the right place at the right time—isn’t that what luck is all about? Some people just seem to have more opportunities come their way through sheer chance. While hard work and perseverance definitely play a role in success, luck and opportunity are often unspoken advantages in life.
Who you know, who you meet, and where you happen to be at any given moment can open doors you never even knew existed. Maybe you strike up a conversation with someone at a party who just happens to be looking for a new employee with your skill set. Or perhaps you stumble upon a new hobby or passion that you never would have found if you hadn’t taken that accidental wrong turn. Serendipity works in mysterious ways!
Life is chaotic and random. While we like to think that we are in control of our destiny, the truth is that fortune and circumstance play a bigger part than we care to admit. So how can you improve your luck? Put simply, the more you expose yourself to new opportunities, the more likely it is that chance encounters and lucky breaks will come your way.
• Network whenever you get the chance. You never know who you might meet!
• Try new things and pick up new hobbies. You could discover a hidden passion or talent you never knew you had.
• Travel to new places. Exploring different locations exposes you to new people and possibilities.
• Say “yes” more often. Accept more invitations and opportunities that come your way. You have nothing to lose and a world of potential to gain.
While luck and opportunity may be out of our control, creating an environment where good fortune can find you is something you can influence. So get out there, open your mind, and see what exciting new doors of possibility might open up! Fortune favors the bold.
12. Growing Up in an Affluent Neighborhood
Growing up in an affluent neighborhood comes with a whole host of advantages that often go unspoken. When your parents can afford to live in an upscale area, it paves the way for success from an early age.
You’re likely to attend well-funded schools with small class sizes and high-quality teachers. This gives you a leg up in education and opportunities for enrichment like advanced classes, tutoring, and extracurricular activities. Surrounded by peers whose families also value education, you’re motivated to achieve more.
- An affluent upbringing exposes you to a successful peer group and social network. Friends’ parents are doctors, lawyers, executives—you see what kinds of careers are possible and the lifestyles they afford. These connections can lead to internships, mentorships, and job opportunities down the road.
- You grow up accustomed to comfort and security. Things like nice homes, new cars, private schools, and family vacations are the norm. This gives you confidence and the expectation that you can achieve the same standard of living in your own life.
- Travel and cultural experiences broaden your mind. Whether it’s family trips abroad or attending plays, museums, or concerts, you’re exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking that shape you into a well-rounded, open-minded person.
While privilege certainly comes with advantages, it does not guarantee happiness or success. But growing up affluent does provide a boost in life that gives you a head start and opens doors that may remain closed to others. Recognizing and making the most of these unspoken benefits will set you on a path to achieving your full potential.
Another Common Unfair Advantages Examples We Don’t Talk About
- A Common Name Having an easy-to-pronounce, “standard” name provides invisible benefits. Studies show people with simple, common names are more likely to be hired and promoted. Their names also tend to be remembered more easily by others. If your name is difficult to pronounce or “ethnic-sounding,” you may face unconscious bias.
- An Optimistic Outlook. Some people are just born more positive and hopeful. Their rosy view of life gives them resilience and helps them see more possibilities. This “positive advantage” leads to greater success and well-being. While the outlook is shaped by life experiences, genetics also plays a role. If you tend toward pessimism, you’ll have to work harder to cultivate an optimistic mindset.
- Strong Mental Health. Enjoying good mental health and emotional stability confers many unacknowledged benefits. You have an easier time coping with challenges, building relationships, and achieving goals. You’re able to focus your energy outward rather than dealing with internal struggles. Not everyone is so lucky, due to factors like brain chemistry, childhood trauma, or life events beyond their control.
- Physical Attractiveness. Though it’s superficial, attractive individuals enjoy perks not available to everyone. “Pretty privilege” includes being perceived as more likable, trustworthy, and competent. Attractive people also tend to earn higher incomes and get promoted faster. Of course, appearance says nothing about someone’s actual abilities or character. But in many areas of life, good looks still provide an unfair advantage.
While we can’t control all the advantages we do or don’t receive in life, we can work to challenge biases and create a more equitable society. And for the advantages we lack, we can cultivate other strengths through dedication and perseverance. Ultimately, the biggest advantages are those we create for ourselves.
So, as you see, life isn’t always fair, but that’s okay. While we can’t control the circumstances we’re born into, we can choose to focus on the advantages we do have and make the most of them. You have so much incredible potential, and there are small ways each day to move closer to achieving your dreams. Tune out the voices saying you can’t and listen to the ones cheering you on instead.
Success is out there waiting for you to grab it, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and start living the life you deserve. The world is yours for the taking, my friend, so believe in yourself and go get it!
- How where you’re born influences the person you become Published: December 3, 2018 11.35am GMT Updated: December 4, 2018 by Authors : Samuel Putnam Professor of Psychology, Bowdoin College , Masha A. Gartstein Professor of Psychology, Washington State University published in theconversation.com
- What Growing Up Broke in a Rich Neighborhood Taught Me About Business – This unique experience actually worked out to my advantage, and some of the lessons I learned helped shape my perspective and outlook on life and entrepreneurship. BY ANDREW MEDAL • JUL 24, 2015 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
- Families & Community , Where you grow up can have a big impact on your future. Here’s why. Michigan Radio | By Jennifer Guerra
- Where I got my unfair advantages | Justin Teoh | TEDxFukuoka
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