What is Compound Advantage

Compound Advantage

One of the underlying causes of “success” in a person’s life is the product of their compounded advantages since birth. Compound Advantage in Development terms is the process by which the advantages you received during your lifetime multiply the affect of each subsequent advantage received.

Example of Compounding Advantages

Principal Advantage: Your family can afford a violin

Subsequent Advantages: You practice violin early, admitted into youth orchestras young, receive training, discovered by talent scouts, can afford to spend time practicing, get into music schools, network within the industry, find success.


The benefits of your principal advantage, “Your family can afford a violin” compounded over the course of your lifetime.

~ Talent is a basically a measure of the rate by which you can climb the ladder and not the rungs on the ladder. The advantages received are represented as rungs on your ladder. If your ladder is missing rungs there is just nowhere for you to climb. Your talent will be squandered at the bottom.

Our Own Advantages

The sexy story of American success encourages us to begin our stories from our disadvantages and show how we overcame them. A myth we need to believe in order to keep the disadvantaged fumbling with broken ladders. Try instead to list your advantages and connect how they compounded unto one and other. To illustrate this I will write the sequence of my own advantages. There is a chance that some of them mutually apply to you.

Principal: I was born into a solid family.

Subsequent: Financial base to support raising, Health care, high standard of living, My family is educated, I received guidance from three generations (siblings, parents, grandparents), Family supported interests, afforded accommodating private schools, Received financial support and loans for University, Strong social and family connection.

Just A Thought

You can see clearly that who I am today, is largely a product of my principal advantage compounding over my lifetime. It is almost Un-American to list your advantages and subtract your initiative from the sum of your success. Subtracting the “u” from “Success” is vital, if we want to bring success to other people.

This is why the core goal of Educational Development is to provide a principal advantage to destitute children. We cannot alter the disadvantages of birth, but we can supplant it with an education. This is illustrated in the following examples about a fictional student named Nana.

Case 1

Principal Advantage: None: Nana was born destitute with no opportunities; all her natural talents will likely be squandered.

Subsequent advantages: (limited)

Case 2

Principal Advantage: Nana completed K-12 school

Subsequent Advantages: became literate and mathematically competent, learned how to study, learned delayed gratification through longer-term goals (exams), learned basic finance, became employable, more likely to marry an educated person, She could provide for her family.

~ Not only did Nana’s standard of living improve over the course of time, but the compounding effect will continue unto her children.

Compounding Generations : Nana’s daughter

Principal Advantage: At least one of my parents is educated

Subsequent Advantages: Family understood the importance and time commitment of education, Family supported my attendance to school, Family gave post – graduation job market guidance, became employable, had a higher likelihood to marry an educated/successful person, able to provide for family.

The cycle of advantage for Nana’s family, barring tragedy, will continue to compound over the many lives of the family.

Goal of Educational Development

The goal of educational development is to start the cycle of compounding advantage in under developed areas, and to foster the nascent ambitions of the first generations. The long-term vision is for the Cycle of Advantage to begin compounding in mass until an entire population is brought out of extreme poverty.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *