Ahmadou Balde
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Today, I turn 26. For the first time, I feel old, really old ;). I am where I am today because I have been privileged in many ways. Growing up in Guinea, I was lucky to attend some of the best schools. I never had to worry about my next meal. I always had a roof over my head. I still do. I never walked barefooted to school (my dad did). For that matter, I never had to walk to school. I could afford to leave the country early to pursue my studies. Here now, I am attending a second-tier business school in the United Stated on a full scholarship. I inherited many conditions because of the sacrifices and choices made by my parents. I never chose my parents. I never earned these conditions. They simply created the circumstances that gave me a comparative advantage compared to many of my peers, friends and family. Undoubtedly, I made good decisions along the way, however, I am more a product of my privilege than my decisions. Denying this reality would only make me presumptuous and arrogant.

While privilege is what separates many of us in society, too many of us are oblivious of our own privileges.

Dominated by the “I” in us, we are quick to judge or to condemn others and tap ourselves in the back.

My parents and the conditions that they created provided a safety net that made it conducive for me to focus on things that matter. It is hard to accept that our progress is not always a product of our decisions especially in our individualistic and utilitarian society. However, recognizing our own privileges cultivates in “us” a certain level of gratitude and empathy. Being self-aware of our privilege makes us much more compassionate and humble leaders. It requires courage and humility. It took me 26 years to realize it. It might take you longer, but it is never too late. Our access to privilege won’t define our outcome or our success in life, I can reassure you your leadership or lack thereof will. Accepting it only makes us better.


Comments (2)

  1. Great post Ahmadou!

  2. […] by the “I” in us, we are quick to judge or to condemn others and tap ourselves on the back. The most hard working individuals and brightest people I met in my life do not have fancy […]

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