Opportunity may not be what you think it is.

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Brian Kight

Cornelius "Neily" Vanderbilt III was born into one of America's wealthiest and most powerful families. The Vanderbilt family fortune at one time exceeded that of the U.S. Treasury.

Private tutors educated Neily before attending Yale, where he collected three degrees and a $6.5 million inheritance after his father's death.

Benjamin Franklin was born to modest parents. His father was a soap maker with 17 children, seven with his first wife and 10 with his second, Ben's mother. Ben was their 8th.

Money was tight. They could only afford two years of education, so Ben's school ended when he was ten. He worked for his father at 12 and apprenticed at his brother's print shop at 15.

None of us have a thing to do with the circumstances of our origins. We did not earn the situation we were born into, but we are responsible for what we do with it.

Ben Franklin and Neily Vanderbilt inherited vastly different beginnings. Neily received near-limitless resources and opportunities. Ben got financial constraints and a family with no prestige or power.

From there, the direction of each man's life was his own making.

Neily Vanderbilt and his brother Reggie squandered their opportunity and, eventually, their family's fortune. Their choices and lack of discipline resulted in a monumental collapse despite every apparent advantage.

Ben Franklin converted his constraints into vehicles for growth, which molded him into one of the most influential and impactful men in history. His choices and independent self-discipline produced creative efforts that forever transformed science, politics, society and the shape of the world.

It was never up to you where your life began. It's entirely up to you where your life goes.

The time is now. Do the work.

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