George Washington captured his place in history as the first president of the United States because of a distinct DISadvantage. He was unanimously selected by the First Congressional Convention. Why did a group of opinionated, strong-willed, often contentious leaders agree without hesitation to Washington’s leadership? Yes, he was a great leader, but so was every other person present. There was a reason everyone agreed on Washington—and it was because of his disadvantage.
George Washington was married to Martha, a widow at age 25 with four children, only two surviving to adulthood. After they married (both were 27 years old), the two never had children of their own. Essentially, George Washington was childless—at least biologically. No doubt, this was a cause of great concern to him and perhaps a situation he often found baffling and frustrating. His childlessness was something totally beyond his control. There was nothing he could do but accept it. Ironically, this painful, difficult, and frustrating situation was the exact circumstance that opened the door to a glorious future for him.
One of the reasons George Washington was selected by the other leaders of United States was precisely because he did not have children. According to the program, “It’s Good to Be President,” more than anything, the founders feared another monarchy. They especially feared the peril of another monarchy from the first president. No doubt, they reasoned, the first leader of a new country would be tempted to have his progeny follow in his footsteps. George Washington’s childlessness guaranteed this risk of a monarchy would be avoided. George Washington’s disadvantage of childlessness was the exact circumstance that elevated him to one of the greatest places occupied by anyone in history.
Are you feeling discouraged by your disadvantages? Your disadvantages may be the precisely the reason that swings the door to your future wide open.