Turning Your Adversity into an Advantage

by Brandon Steiner May 26, 2014 0 Comments

Today’s blog was written by Keith Martinez, whom I’ve had the privilege of getting to know through a program called STEP- Student Transfer Education Program. In high school, Keith went from living in an underprivileged environment on a Native American reservation in South Dakota to living with our family for two years, as well as being supported by other Scarsdale families participating in the STEP program. Keith came to us with SAT scores just above 600 and after going to a tutor every Sunday for two years, he boosted his score to over 1100 points. He earned a Presidential Scholarship to attend Villanova University and also received the Bill Gates Foundation Scholarship. With all that he’s been through, Keith wrote this blog today about adversity. 

Think of the word adversity, what comes to mind? What do you picture? Who you think of?

How does adversity affect you?

Now read at the definition:

Adversity (noun): a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune

Now think of the word advantage. Again, what comes to mind?

Now read its definition:

Advantage (noun): something (such as a good position or condition) that helps to make someone or something better or more likely to succeed than others

For most people these two words are complete opposites. Adversity can mean that every day of their lives is a constant struggle where it’s difficult to meet even their most basic needs, such as where their next meal will come from or how they will answer to bill collectors. Others may be facing a tragedy that has taken place in their live.

Advantage can mean that someone simply has a higher ground- maybe they won the “genetic lottery” to gain this advantage. But, almost no one wins the lottery, so it’s important to recognize that anyone can have an advantage. But, to get there, most people have to overcome adversity.

So what’s the secret? How do you turn adversity into your advantage?

It’s simple. Adversity in itself is the advantage. The difficult part is realizing what you can gain from it, so that you can position yourself to succeed. When you understand how your adversity separates you from the others, use it as a tool for that success.

What I mean by this is that having adversity makes you, “you;” it makes you unique. While it may seem easier to accept your situation and live day-to-day than it is to try and change your situation, I believe you’re better off using this as motivation to force change. People admire those who are proud of their adversity and use it as a motivator to change their situation.

I am not saying to shout out to the world “Hey, I can’t do this, I don’t have that, this happened to me,” etc. What I mean is for people to strategically evaluate themselves, their skills and situations then see where they want to be. Then, they should determine a plan and use the skills they have acquired and developed through their adversity to their advantage.

For me personally, when I utilized this process I realized that I am set up for success as long as I put in the work. My life has been changed in tremendous ways, and has set me up to be in a place of “advantage” in the near future.

This is something I believe everyone is capable of.

Brandon Steiner
Brandon Steiner


Brandon Steiner is the founder and chairman of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia, the largest company of its kind in America. Considered a sports marketing guru, Brandon is a permanent fixture in the media as a regular on ESPN NY Radio 98.7 FM and as host of "The Hook-Up with Brandon Steiner" on YES Network. He has appeared frequently on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and in newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The author of The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports and You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire, Brandon lives in Scarsdale, New York, with his wife, Mara and children Crosby and Nicole.

Also in "What Else?" Blog

Lessons from Sales and Management Guru Harvey Mackay
Lessons from Sales and Management Guru Harvey Mackay

by Brandon Steiner July 26, 2017 0 Comments

Read More

Having a Nice Day is Bullshit
Having a Nice Day is Bullshit

by Brandon Steiner July 25, 2017 0 Comments

Go tell someone the truth instead of the status-quo. 

Read More

The Secret to Scoring Your First Job
The Secret to Scoring Your First Job

by Brandon Steiner July 21, 2017 0 Comments

My daughter sent me that quote recently from a guest speaker that came to one of her college classes. It resonated with me.

Read More