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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Columnist: Kobina Ansah

Take advantage of your advantage!

A fish can survive in water where man cannot. This is because fishes have some aquatic advantages peculiar to them unlike man. A fish has gills to breathe whilst man doesn’t. It has fins to swim.

Man, however, has only legs to walk. Fishes are adapted to aquatic life because they have advantages over terrestrial organisms.

Advantages are privileges we alone enjoy; privileges that can make us successful ahead of others. They are life’s own way of helping us reach our destination.

Fishes have certain capabilities that make them more successful in their habitat than other organisms that live outside water. Their environment provides them with particular opportunities that become advantages that organisms like birds may never have. Survival, thus, for a bird in
water is impossible because they will be disadvantaged there!

Wherever one finds themselves, life presents them with peculiar opportunities called advantages.

What you have can be an advantage. What you don’t have can be an advantage, too. Everything can be an advantage, your social network, environment, passion, needs, talent or even disability.

The vicinity you grow in can, for instance, be an advantage. Environment is an advantage.

Growing in a plush, gated community makes you advantageous over another who grew up in a slum. You are exposed to exciting life opportunities and many people of influence. Growing in a slum, however, has its own peculiar advantages of hardening you for life. Every environment has its own peculiar advantage. Discern it.

Until you identify the advantages around you, you’ll be disadvantaged. Until you know what you have in your hands can turn your life around, you will keep searching in non-existent places. The magic wand to your destiny is your advantage. Take advantage!

The advantages life presented to Bill Gates as an American teen may not be of the same weight as those that came the way of another teen in Chorkor-Ghana around the same time. However, no matter where one finds themselves, they should be able to use the ingredients life gives them to cook. No matter how little those opportunities may be, one should be able to use them to his or
her advantage.

Bill had a lawyer as a father. His mother was the daughter of a well-to-do banker. At a very tender age, he was introduced to computers at Lakeside School. He started computer programming as early as age 13. He had a heart for computers but the biggest advantage of the serene environment he grew up in all played a significant role in his success.

A combination of these opportunities and many other factors came as a great to advantage to young Bill. He could even afford to drop out of Harvard College because his background of an advantage could absorb the shock should he fail.
The multi-million-dollar question is, “What if Bill had not taken advantage of all these opportunities? What if he had wasted his youth as a prodigal son?”

Bill identified all his advantages and took advantage of them. Unlike most of his friends, he identified the unique opportunities life had presented to him to ease his burden and took advantage of such to go all out for his dreams. What matters in life is not the opportunities that come your way but knowing that such opportunities are advantages you need to take advantage of!

The future is not for those who have a rich background today but those who are taking advantage of the opportunities life presents them. Make something rich out of your education. Take advantage of social media to pursue your dreams. It’s an advantage others never had in their youth. Take advantage of your good spouse to further your purpose. To others, a bad choice of a spouse is the only disadvantage hindering their dreams.

Like a fish, if you don’t take advantage of your fins, you’d end up never swimming. If you don’t take advantage of your danger-sensing features as a fish, you’d die prematurely. Life belongs to those who identify their advantages and take advantage of such.

Mark Zuckerberg is an ordinary young man who took advantage of his environment? a young man who took advantage of his need to communicate with friends on campus. Thanks to all the available opportunities that came with his comfortable background, he could afford to leave his comfort zone, dropping out of Harvard College to chase his dreams. Greatness comes to those
who take advantage of their advantages.

Ingenuity matters and taking advantage of your advantages matter, too. Life always hurls opportunities at us to help us make use of our talents and passion. It’s about us discerning these opportunities and taking advantage of them. The advantage may be, like the biblical David, to spend more time with sheep so as to slay lions and bears which may later help you slay Goliath.
Advantages indeed come in different shapes and forms.

Bill Gates could have wandered into another career if he had not taken advantage of his passion for computers to hone his skills at Lakeside when most teenagers around the same time didn’t have the luxury of being exposed to computers.

Mark Zuckerberg may not have ever bumped into riches if he had not perceived his talent as an opportunity to connect not only his campus but the world at large.

Look around you. Everything around is an advantage. Like a warrior, everything around you is a weapon of attack or defense. You may not be as exposed as the Zuckerbergs and Gates but the little exposure you have had is enough. Everything you need to know to get to where you need to be is on the internet.

Take advantage.

Whether you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth or not, life in itself is an advantage.

After all, others don’t have it. Your wealth can be of as much advantage as your poverty, however you look at it. Poverty can be a great force of motivation behind hard work and wealth can be the fuel of hard work. Whichever way, work more. Complain less. Take advantage!