Monday, 27 August 2007

How Responsibility Transcends the "Life is Unfair" Attitude

How do you deal with "unfair" situations? How do you feel if someone receives something better for doing less work than you? Is it right that you sometimes end up worse off than someone else even though you have better intentions?

When you say that something is unfair it implies that what happens to you is outside of your control. One of the main things I believe self-improvement is about is learning to take more responsibility and control for your life and destiny. The problem with claiming that something is unfair is that is has the complete opposite effect. Even if there are rare instances where you have absolutely no control over your current situation maintaining this attitude in the long term will cause you to relinquish control of your life.

So how can you deal with seemingly unfair situations?

You do everything in your power to try and get what you want. Let's say, for example, you apply for a job and someone who is less qualified than you gets it. This is a situation that you could potentially view as unfair. A good way to react to this situation is to continue to assume responsibility and try different means of getting the job. For example, you could continue to write to the employer expressing your belief of your suitability, you could offer unpaid internship to prove yourself, you could request feedback from interview and improve on the things where they thought you were weak, etc.

From the above example you can see that as long as you continue to assume responsibility there will always be more ways in which to act. Deciding that something is unfair is similar to accepting defeat, because you are saying to yourself that it is no longer up to you to get what you want.

I do, however, believe there are situations when it can be helpful to claim unfairness. It can be helpful to claim unfairness if it will cause you to get the result you want while remaining in line with your values. For example, if you are unfairly descriminated against in a job interview then I believe you can claim unfairness to the government, because this could help you get the job you want.

There are different ways in which the term unfair can be used. I want to be clear that I strongly believe it should be avoided when it becomes an attitude you have that causes you to give up control and responsibility. In my last example using unfairness is acceptable, because it is used to your advantage and you are still taking control of the situation.

Giving up the "life is unfair" attitude is another step you can take to accepting more responsibility for your life.