Are you privileged by birth to be more fulfilled and successful in life?

Everyone has the advantage of being born at a specific time and place. Your parents, the beliefs and the level of wealth that they have will determine the education, your social circle and the amount of support that you will have in life. It is hard to expect a Harvard university degree from a child whose parents are dealing with domestic violence and alcohol abuse, with an annual income of less than 20,000 $.

Ivan Golovko
Feb 26 · 5 min read
Photo by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash

But about the underdogs? They fight themselves through the struggles and despite all odds, make it to the top!

Yes, the archetype is true, but even the underdog has set advantages that gives him or her an unfair advantage towards the competitors. Let’s take the most famous example of an underdog, David and Goliath and watch how it gets debunked by Malcolm Gladwell:

David is faster, has a long-distance weapon and has bright eyesight, yet Goliath is a giant who is half-blind, with close-range sword and packed in armour which doesn’t enable him to move fast.

David wins the fight by slinging a stone directly between the eyes of Goliath. He falls, and David quickly runs up to him and chops his head off with his sword. You can see that even an underdog has an unfair advantage. A kid who is out of a parental home full of violence, weak and disturbed is more prone to stress. He or she can be more violent towards their peers and are motivated to be independent to leave their home to have a better life. Yet they lack education — no classes after school or help from parents to do their homework.

Who are you? What is your strength? In today’s world, you have to be aware of the advantages that enable you to succeed and remain fulfilled.

To see where you stand, I can suggest a simple assessment to determine your strengths:

My result is that I’m an optimist, a thinker, a coach, a believer and a brainstormer. It doesn’t change the perspective on how I approach life, yet by understanding that I’m a creative person who engages in thinking and creating new ideas just as will be fulfilled if his work will help others to grow others. By understanding these fundamentals, I can choose my field of expertise right.

The same goes for you. If you confused about who you are and why you are doing the work that you are doing — Ask yourself. Go back to the fundamentals. You will see the abilities that make you great.

Albert Einstein

Even Albert Einstein failed a math class. Yet it doesn’t mean that he is dumb. Despite all odds, he became the father of the relativity theory and one of the most famous figures in physics.

Life is very circumstantial. You will fail, you will break, and we usually break at our weakest points. In despair, you will see your strength; you will find meaning in sorrow.

You might think that the struggle is determined by birth and it’s true. If your parents are poor, then the odds and efforts for you to become wealthy will be higher then if your parents are already wealthy.

But there is nothing that can beat hard work, time and dedication. The struggles will make you grow teeth that the rich kids don’t have. You will be able to deal with rejection; you will have the stamina to figure out the maze of life.

No matter if you had an excellent or lousy upbringing, by the end of the day, everyone faces their life alone. No other person can make you happy except yourself. It easy to purchase mundane things that will give you pleasure, but the basic human need for meaning in life will stay unfulfilled.

It will eat you up, step by step. You can delay the confrontation with it by finding new aims that will make you happy. A new car, a bigger house or another partner but it will fizzle away in a day, in a month, in a year.

To strive for meaning is a continuous job, just as we all need human interaction to stay sane. In the movie “Cast Away”, Tom Hanks is stranded on an island alone. He is deprived of all human contact, to replace it with Wilson.

Once he loses Wilson, it’s like losing a friend. It’s just a ball with a drawn face on it that Tom created to replace human company.

Poor children will question their current life early on. Why does my mom hit me? Why does my dad drink so much? Why are the other kids in my class dressed so well?

He or she will be forced to think and compare him- or herself. By facing profound questions early on, they will learn how to think for themselves to find their meaning in life.


You are who you are. No matter when and where are born, you will always stay yourself. Your upbringing and your motives will determine your social status, your salary and personal fulfilment. But one beautiful day, you will face a lack of fulfilment. You can escape it through drugs, sex or work but not for long. This is the most basic need a human can have, and everyone has to find it on an individual level.

― Friedrich Nietzsche

Religion can suffice your need for meaning in life, yet it doesn’t work for everyone. If you doubt, you sin.

My friend, you are privileged by the simple fact that you are reading this article, be aware of those who don’t. The ones who can’t read, who don’t have home or food or access to primary education.

Say thank you to the fact you are born in a country with access to the internet, running water and education. You are the rich kid.

Ivan Golovko

Written by

Novelist and Idealist with a background in medicine. Learn more about my work on

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