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Gratitude, ambition and under-achieving

Ever since a child, my parents always told me to be grateful for what we have and that we’re lucky and there are people with a lot less than we have. This is solid advice and something I’ve always tried to keep in mind. I would say I’m an ambitious person and with that, I often balance feelings of gratefulness with ambition.

A year or so ago I also stumbled upon a book called “The Unfair Advantage: How You Already Have What It Takes to Succeed” - by Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba. The premise of the book is that we all have unfair advantages that take shape in various forms. For example for myself, living in London, having a degree, being a native English speaker and so on. The concept of the book is eye-opening and one that’s stuck with me for the past year.

While the concept has stuck with me for a while, it’s not always been motivating. Sometimes it’s been quite the opposite. I’ve found myself thinking, “I’m so lucky, I should be doing more with my life”. This is where my biggest fear comes in. I’m scared that I’m not doing enough with my life. I’m scared that I’m not making the most of my unfair advantages and with that my potential. Not reaching my potential, I think about often. I suppose it stems from being a kid and seeing football players with huge potential not making it to the top for whatever reason. The feeling of everyone backing you, wanting you to do well but you disappointing them by not reaching the heights everyone had in mind. This is the very feeling I’m afraid of. It might seem like this is societal pressure, but I believe it’s deeper than that. It’s the promise and the internal battle of knowing I could have done more that scares me. I don’t want to look back in 30 years and think I could have tried harder or done more. I want to look back and know I gave it my all.

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