Think life is unfair? If you think about stuff you might be going through now or times in the past when nothing seemed to go your way, you might think life is not fair. It might even seem terribly wrong, if you play fair but don’t get the results you seek while others, who break the rules, get rewarded.
If you hold such a simplistic view then you’re bound to see life as unfair. However, life isn’t as simple as that, you just haven’t spent enough time thinking about reality. Life comes with its own set of rules, and understanding them will help you to better use them to your advantage. It’s an uncomfortable process. I’m no expert on life but I’ll try my best to explain life’s rules based on my own limited experiences.
❂ Your value is in your actions
No matter how well-to-do your thoughts and intentions are, people only actually value what you do. If you think about it, you use the same value system as well. Take, for example, a father who earnestly promises to be at his daughter’s soccer games but keeps missing them. You probably won’t see him as good a father as another who constantly shows up. The absentee father might actually have an extremely good reason for not being able to attend each time but no one cares about that.
You might think that you deserve honor and praise for being good at something just because you’re talented. Say you’re a songwriter, for instance. You constantly get praised by your friends that your songs are well-written and they even tell you that you’ll make it big someday. You keep writing songs and sharing them with your friends year after year but you never seem to get the recognition you think you deserve. At the same time, you watch as other songwriters, with (in your opinion) less talent, score record deals and even have what you’d describe as a shitty song end up on the charts. Seems unfair, right? However, a closer look might reveal that those other songwriters probably spent more time doing more to promote their songs, however, badly written you thought they were. You see, their actions resulted in more people hearing their music, which in turn made them seem more valuable in the public’s eye, even though your talent might be better. Of course, there are many of you who try everything but nothing seems to be happening. That doesn’t mean life is unfair either, it just means your time hasn’t come yet or there is still something else left to try. There is still a high likelihood that your breakthrough will come someday, that is as long as you don’t give up.
❂ Life is a contest
Yup, everybody’s in competition, whether you believe it or not. We often make the mistake of not going all out for what we want, thinking we just have to “be ourselves.” Nothing’s wrong with being yourself but in all things, you have to remember that other people want the same thing you do and are hardwired to try and outdo or outperform to end up on top.
Everybody wants to be the best. Someone’s always trying to impress, whether it be a potential suitor, a potential investor, or a potential employer. This competition exists not just among humans but among many life forms in the animal kingdom. In some species of birds, for instance, the male with the showiest display in a mating ritual is the one who gets to mate with the female.
There are many prizes in the various areas of life and people will always be trying to achieve them. This means nothing will ever just fall in your lap, you have to get up and try, which won’t necessarily guarantee success but will increase your chances.
❂ Fairness really isn’t about you
Most of us were raised to think that being ‘good’ automatically means we’ll get the results that we want. Yet, one team wins and the other loses, regardless of the fact that they may have put in the same amount of preparation work. No matter how well all candidates perform on a job interview, the company will only choose the ones they deem most suitable to fill the vacancy.
There are tons of other examples all around, which contribute to the notion that life isn’t fair.
But fairness isn’t about you and what you think, there’s reason behind everything. The job interviewer’s choice to fill the vacancy probably had more to do with keeping up with the company’s image rather than which candidate was more talented. The reason you failed an exam you studied really hard for may just be because your creative mind doesn’t mesh with the routine layout of the curriculum.
The thing to remember is that people are complex creatures and they all make decisions based on their own experiences, not yours. When you think about it, your own choices (choosing a partner, selecting a career, choosing somewhere to live, etc.) come from your own experiences too.
↛ SO, IS LIFE FAIR?
Not really but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unfair either. The truth is, life has always been unpredictable while people have always been expectant; it’s like mixing oil and water. At the end of the day, people who win at life are those who recognize that life is going to happen regardless of what they do, so they just do their best and try to adapt.
Plus, imagine if life was a level playing field for everyone, how dull it would be. There would be no reason to strive for excellence in any field, since everyone would get the result they worked for. No one would need to turn on the charm to woo a potential partner, all you would need is just to say ‘hi’ and the other person would fall head over heels.
Also, there would be no creativity since everyone would be satisfied with the status quo and, therefore, would not see the need to think outside the box. There would be no need for awards, no recognition for high achievers, no competitive spirit, so maybe no sports either. Let’s face it, if life was ‘fair,’ it would be rather drab.
Of course, the world isn’t perfect and there are not-so-nice people around who make life harder for others but truth be told, they all help to bring out the best in the rest of us, and that’s what matters.
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Are you a songwriter or have friends who are? I co-founded Tunedly, a selective music publishing and recording studio. ⑇ The Homepage of my website is the best place to learn about me. ⑇