“The only thing that makes life unfair is the delusion that it should be fair.” – Dr. Steve Maraboli
I sat in an audience with over two thousand people a few years ago and watched as our keynote speaker was carried onto the stage. You read this correctly; our keynote speaker was carried onto the stage and lifted up on top of a table in the center of the stage.
Our speaker could not walk on stage that day nor can he walk on stage any day because he is not capable of walking; he has no legs.
In addition to missing his legs, he also is missing both of his arms. Our keynote speaker that day was Nick Vujicic, one of the top 10 motivational speakers in the world and hero to millions.
Nick was born with an extremely rare congenital disorder known as Phocomelia which left him with the absence of legs and arms.
In a world where people are looking for life to be fair, Nick would be the first one to tell you that life isn’t rosy or fair; but it is worth living.
How can some people thrive in life despite incomprehensible circumstances while others become victims; complaining and bemoaning everything that happens to them?
The answer lies in their mindset; they believe the deceptive notion that life should be fair.
In today’s blog post I will expose this dangerous mindset trap and give you 4 key action steps to cultivate a healthy mindset.
Why is this mindset so dangerous to your wellbeing? People who subscribe to the mindset that life should be fair are delusional and childish. It reminds me of my kids’ bickering when they were younger. When they felt something was unfair, they used to always whine:
Not fair, she got more dessert than me.
Not fair, why does he always get to stay up later than me?
Not fair, why are you taking away my phone?
As childish as this sounds, how many times do we as adults whine about things we consider unfair; the economy, the promotion we were passed up for, that other person’s marriage, their status, title, or possessions?
This mindset does more than rob you of resilience; it keeps you in a defeatist mentality where you feel victimized and entitled. If this mindset trap describes you, you are wasting precious time and energy feeling sorry for yourself; constantly complaining about how unfair life is and it will deprive you of happiness, success, and peace of mind.
4 Key Action Steps
So what can you do to break out of this harmful mindset? Let’s look at 4 key action steps you can take to help you shatter this destructive thinking.
1. Gain Perspective
Gaining a healthy perspective about life is pivotal to thriving under any circumstance you find yourself in. To defeat this dangerous mindset trap, you must understand and embrace the fact that life is not fair.
Something that has helped me when I fall into the “life isn’t fair” mindset trap is to visualize a river. I love the metaphor of looking at life as if it were a river. A river has multiple facets to it; it can be slow and peaceful or dangerously roaring down a mountainside threatening to overflow. And then there are times when it’s at a stagnant plateau; waiting to start the cycle all over again.
Having this type of mental imagery will help you put the events and cycles of your life in perspective. Know that regardless of the challenge you’re facing or the situation you’re in, it doesn’t last forever and you are capable of overcoming it.
2. Embrace Gratitude
Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what one has; albeit it concrete or intangible. Mentally tough people choose to exchange complaining for gratitude. Positive Psychology research has shown that people who practice gratitude have a higher quality of physical and psychological health. According to Harvard Health, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.
Cultivating a grateful attitude is a skill you can learn. Consistently reflecting on the good in your life, gratitude journaling, thanking people for things large or small, and praying are all positive actions you can take to cultivate a grateful mindset. Don’t stew or dwell on what you don’t have; focusing on what you lack will keep you stuck in a fatalistic mindset.
Instead, think about how much better life could be if you dedicated your thoughts to everything you do have?
3. Focus on What You Can Control
There are some things in life that you simply cannot control. When you take time to think about it, are the things that you are stewing, worrying, or fretting about in your control?
I highly recommend that you categorize your obstacles; put everything into figurative buckets. Look at the buckets and ask yourself, “What do I have control over?”
Control the things you know you can control; your attitude, your routines, your thoughts, and your mindset. Knowing that you cannot control other people, outcomes, or what people think of you is freeing and will produce incredible changes in your life.
Don’t be discouraged, taming your thoughts takes time. Creating a new habit requires discipline; understand that it won’t happen overnight. However, having newfound energy and creating a healthy mindset far outweighs any effort expended.
4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparison is a deadly sin and if you want to experience more in life, you must stop comparing yourself to others.
Every moment you wish you were someone else or have what they have is wasted time you will never get back. Comparison robs you of embracing your authentic self.
Think about it, when you compare yourself to someone or something they have, you are usually fixated on one solitary area to focus on such as someone else’s achievements, power, or status. By doing so, you magnify that arena as if it is the only factor in the equation that matters.
When you are tempted to compare yourself to someone else, do a reality check instead. Look to see what embellished quality or qualities you are magnifying in others and minimizing in yourself.
Make a list of your strengths, achievements, and the things you are thankful for. Make it an intentional practice to dwell on these things instead. Your mind is very powerful and before you know it, it will start automatically thinking about your strengths and successes instead of comparing yourself to others. By doing this, you will have created a new powerful thought pattern.
“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday; not to who someone else is today.” – Jordan Peterson
Hopefully, you’ve been enlightened to the dangers of this “thinking life should be fair” mindset and are now equipped to make some simple but profound changes.
When you let go of what you think you deserve and accept everything you do have, a new world opens up to you and there is an extremely high probability that it might be even better than what you imagined.
In the words of world-renowned motivational speaker, Nick Vujicic, who could not walk on stage that day or any day:
“You can’t even imagine the good that awaits you if you refuse to give up.” – Nick Vujicic
Make it a CLUTCH day,
Always remember – Nothing is Impossible
- Thriving in Difficult Times – Learning to Intentionally Control Your Thoughts - August 12, 2020
- Thriving in Difficult Times – Cultivating Peace - July 29, 2020
- Thriving in Difficult Times – Cultivating Gratitude - July 22, 2020