I’ll let you in on a little secret, Life is not Fair. The sooner you come to grips with that reality the better off you will be financially and the happier you will be.
A recent encounter with life not being fair
Recently I left a role as a manager at my mega corporation. I struggled to keep my organization moving due to a lack of resources and an inability to have my global team meet in person. I held the group together for 3 years in this perpetual state of long hours and stress. It ultimately lead to me moving on to a non-management role in my company.
My replacement as manager was brought in at a pay grade above mine. Within a month of his hiring he hired 3 new people and he brought them all together to discuss their situation. Those things I tried for 3 years to accomplish with no management support he got in the first 2 months. As I look back I’m a bit frustrated that I received no support while my replacement gets everything asked for and is essentially following my plan. The reality is this occurred simply because management knew I’d find a way to make it work when I worked in that role. And I did. My replacement has less relevant experience, so they are giving him every advantage they can to keep up. So, there is a legitimate reason even if it’s not necessarily fair to me.
Life is not fair, S%#@ happens
Life has a million of these types of stories. It can be from decision of those in charge, whether it be the manager that we report to, the professor, the executive, or if we’re an entrepreneur even our customers. However, it’s not always driven by people in power. In some cases, it’s just a product of genetics or blind luck.
Some people are even just born able to do things easily that others of us find difficult. When I was in college I’d see this all the time. The genius’ at my engineering school would just look sideways at their latest assignment and it would be done in a few hours. In my case, it would take a full week or more to do the same task. In other case’s it’s blind luck: winning the lottery, a raffle, or even being born to the right person/country.
Life is not fair, because we are not equal and never will be
So, from this aspect Life is not fair as we are not born equal and we’re not treated equally. Life is not fair. Then again when you think about it hard some of these scenarios probably tilt in your favor. Perhaps you know someone who got you a job. Maybe you were born to loving parents who ensured you got a great education. Or maybe it’s just that you were born in a country with opportunities rather than one where it is more limited in ability for anyone to get ahead. Maybe you have some skill that comes easier that others struggle with. In other words, in some cases life favors you and in others it favors someone else. Life is not fair, but it is so universally, not just to you. Once you come to grips with that you will be happier, you will have gratitude. I also believe you will be wealthier.
Once you understand not everything is under your control nor is every task something your born to excel at, you can shift your approach.
Focus on the things for which you have a talent or advantage.
Everyone has some talent, it’s just a matter of utilizing it correctly. If you’re an extrovert look at something that requires social skills like sales. I have a friend who could make friends with anyone. I’d love to have his talents some days. His skills lend themselves to sales, communications, or customer service. Focusing on those areas would be in his best interest.
I see all types of arguments on why you should be an engineer because they make the big bucks. That’s true of a good engineer, but that might not be your advantage. Trying to shove your round peg into that square hole will only make you unhappy and/or unsuccessful. Focus on the things your good at.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Remind yourself of the good that comes out of the situation. When life seems unfair, push past it by reminding yourself of the upside of the situation. For example, in my story about my old role the good is my replacement has an opportunity to improve the organization now that the resources to support it are finally in place. That’s good for him, but it’s also good for me as a shareholder and employee. The better he is at his job, as one factor among many, the better I am paid.
Use the situation as a lesson. Think about what can be learned that might be applied to further you ahead in the future. Maybe there is an underlying reason for the situation you can leverage in a different way. In my case the reason is clearly my management thought highly of me to think I could hold it together without what I clearly needed. Just imagine how I can leverage that into a better position or one that pays more later.
Use the situation as a motivator. Take the situation and use it to drive you to bigger success. Many an entrepreneur got their start by leaving a company that failed to given them a chance. They made their own situation by working for themselves. Sure, they still ultimately have a boss in their customers, but they still changed fundamentally the relationship with their boss and thus the dynamic in the future. I recently finished the book “The Millionare Mind” by Stanley. In it he points out that millionares like critics, because their critique is a great motivator in driving them to succeed. In a similar way you should use your own critique of your failures as well as other’s critiques to drive you to success.
Remind yourself you do not control everything. Sometimes you just have to learn to let it go and keep pushing forward. Focus on what you can change and control. Forget the problems of the past except for as a learning opportunity and focus on enjoying today.
When in your life have you felt that life is not fair? How have you turned lemons into lemonade by leveraging that event.