The phrase “life’s not fair” might not seem to be an earth-shattering idea — of course, it’s not fair. It’s one of the first lessons we learn in school, if not before. In any group, there will almost always be someone stronger, smarter, richer, more attractive, or just “luckier” than we are.
From a dealership perspective, there’s usually another company that has a better location than ours, or has more inventory, or sells a more popular make. The list can go on and on.
My Theory of 5 mentors and I absolutely believe that life, indeed, is not fair. That, however, shouldn’t be the end of the discussion. Once we accept that fact of life, there is a question we should ask ourselves: “What are we going to do about it?”
Rather than complain to others (after all, life isn’t fair for them, either), or make excuses for why they’re not enjoying the success they feel they are owed, the most successful people I’ve met have worked to create their own “unfair” advantage.
What do I mean by this? By working hard, building our skills, and making sure our daily actions, behaviors, and attitudes are focused on achieving our goals, we will be able to take advantage of any opportunity that comes our way. We will create our own “luck,” and others will start to wonder how we do it.
Think of the millions of people who overcome poverty, addictions, abuse, divorce, physical and mental illness — almost every challenge known to humanity — who have gone on to live their best life and achieve their dreams. Life wasn’t “fair” for them, but they refused to accept that as the final answer for their lives.
|Related: Reframing life’s questions: We can have it all if we change “OR” to “AND”
Creating a positive mindset is the key to building for ourselves what life did not hand us. Our success is up to us to achieve. While others might be further along the road to where we ultimately want to go then we are at this moment, their journey doesn’t impact our own. Their success doesn’t mean there’s less success waiting for us. They haven’t taken anything away from our story; we’re just going to have to work harder to write our own.
I believe there are three actions we can take today (and every day) to cultivate the mindset that will allow us to set aside the idea that “life’s not fair” and build our own “unfair” advantages in life:
Count what we do have
While there’s always someone who has more than we do (and whatever it is that we are comparing, someone will always have more), that doesn’t mean we have nothing. We are not starting from zero. The modern world seems built to urge us to constantly compare ourselves to the wealthiest, most beautiful people in the world, so we’re never content with what we have.
If you’re reading this, you most likely live in one of the richest countries in the world, in an age of plenty that our ancestors could only dream of. When we look objectively at our lives, there is a lot to be grateful for. Let’s not discount this. Instead of focusing on what we lack, let’s take a moment to see what we have, and what we have to work with to build our future.
Determine what we are able to do
We all have gifts that we bring with us, no matter what we’re doing. No one sees the world quite like we do. While we might not be the best at everything we attempt, our work ethic is our own and can be as strong as we want it to be. No one can limit how hard we work or how much effort we are going to put in toward achieving our goals.
Decide to create our own “unfair” advantage
When we are truly determined to achieve our heart’s desire, we generate energy that will power the engines of our success. We learn everything we can about our inventory. We practice our presentation to clients. We make sure that we always add value to every encounter we have with a customer.
“Luck,” as the saying goes, “is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.” There are opportunities all around us, but if we’re not prepared, we can’t take advantage of them (and might not even recognize them). This will require discipline and sacrifice — putting in the work now means saying “no” to some of today’s comforts and distractions. However, my mentors and I believe that when we set goals and then make sure our mindset, actions, and attitudes are all aligned toward making those goals a reality, our challenges might still delay our arrival, but they cannot stop us.
Success for life
My mentors and I have also found that those who had to work hard to achieve their dreams — rather than being born with silver spoons and having their “victories” handed to them — are often overall more successful in their lives. They appreciate everything they have because they had to work for it every step of the way.
Life might not be fair, but it’s within our power to level the playing field and build the life we deserve.