Accumulative Advantage

There’s this one principle I always held close. A principle that explains everything about us. “Accumulative advantage”. A mere understanding that success and failures and whatever you have gained and lost – everything whatsoever – is because of advantages that you are not even responsible for. An understanding that all the good things that happened to you – was almost entirely by chance. Pure luck. 

And today, I was more than gratified when Melinda Gates (with Bill Gates) talked about that same principle in their Commencement Address at Stanford University. Here’s an excerpt: 

“There’s an essential ingredient of success, and that is luck. Absolute and total luck. When where you born, who are your parents, where did you grew up. None of us earn these things. These things were given to us. So when we strip away all of our luck, and our privilege, and when we consider where we’d be without them, it becomes much easier to see someone poor, and say, ‘that could be me’. And that’s empathy.”


Full speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wug9n5Atk8c

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