The Unfair Advantage

Masters Tournament 2008-12I had the opportunity of going to the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta back in 1999. We only had tickets for the next to last last day, but I vividly remember seeing Vijay Singh come off the course that beautiful Saturday. While other players were giving interviews, signing autographs for my wife, hitting the Gatorade, or trekking to the clubhouse, Vijay Singh headed for the driving range! “The driving range?” I thought, “Hasn’t he had enough for the day? Isn’t he tired?” His caddy brought him bucket after bucket of golf balls and I watched him crush them over and over again with his driver. I remember hearing him say to the caddy, “How far? How far did it hit from that flag on the left?” People may think Vijay or Tiger Woods have some type of unfair advantage, but in all reality, their unfair advantage is a commitment to being the best.

In 2007, Singh played in 23 events and earned a whopping $4.7 million. His average score for the year was a 69.49. Contrast him to Todd Hamilton, who in 2007 earned $109,776, played in 24 events and had an average score of 72.83 (no offense to Todd Hamilton). The difference between their average scores was only 4.5 percent, but the difference between their earnings was huge … much more than 4.5 percent.

After looking at these numbers, I realized that I have spent much of my life looking for excuses for poor performance. I thought that other people had some type of unfair advantage, whether it be genetic, getting a lucky break, having wealthy parents, or a natural disposition toward sports, business, or connecting with people. None of that is true.

The unfair advantage that I looked for as my excuse for poor performance just wasn’t there. It didn’t exist and it never did. It was all in my imagination. I actively sought after reasons that I couldn’t succeed or live up to my potential. I cultivated those reasons with twisted logic and convinced myself that I was normal.

But you know what? Normal just didn’t cut it for me anymore. I made some decisions to improve myself by finishing my bachelor’s degree and then going on to get my master’s degree. I was tired of my own excuses and I decided I wasn’t going to go to my grave wondering if I could have finished what I started.

I decided to give myself the gift of an “unfair advantage” by plunging head first into whatever I decided to undertake, whether it was debt reduction, learning web programming, dieting, or whatever, and taking a long term approach.

What “unfair advantage” can you give yourself? What’s the one thing, that if you could do it exceptionally well, could propel forward in your life, career, finances, relationships, or life goals. What is your next step in becoming, not just proficient, but remarkable in your ability to perform that task?

Today, take that next step. Become the person that everyone thinks has an “unfair advantage.” Only YOU will know the truth.

[tags]advantage, unfair, unfair advantage, commitment, credit, debt, decision, decisions, decisiveness, degree, degrees, finance, finances, finish, goal, goals, improvement, learn, learning, life[/tags]

photo credit: johntrainor

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