193. Life doesn’t always give us what we want. Now what?

193. Life doesn’t always give us what we want. Now what?

A neighbor stopped me in the hallway and asked if I had any advice she could pass on to her daughter.

It seems her daughter works for a company whose Board of Directors had just appointed a new CEO from outside the company.

As is so often the case when new CEOs arrive on scene, they begin their tenure by practicing the old adage that “new brooms sweep clean,” and replace members of the management teams with people of their choice.

This CEO, in his first meeting with his eight vice presidents, told them of his plans to shrink the layers of management within the company and ended the meeting by saying that “I’m only going to need half of you.”

In the six months since his arrival sweeping changes are taking place throughout this organization, many of them to the consternation of some of the folks.

One of the casualties of the new bosses sweeping changes is my neighbor’s daughter. She apparently had been groomed as the heir apparent to her boss’s position and when her boss was “downsized” as part of the new CEOs re-org , the promotion was given to a person brought in from outside the company.

Her daughter had worked in this company for some 20 years, and “everyone knew she was going to be the next director” and – this was the part that was really getting to her – “it’s just not fair.”

Not fair?

Where is it written that it is even reasonable or rational to go through life with any expectation of fairness?

Gimalle, my wife, and I presently have three close friends who are engaged in tough battles with cancer and we don’t know whether any of them will emerge victorious.

That’s not fair, but it’s real.

Our media has been filled with stories of a young mother who drowned her two children. Two young children who will never be given a chance at life.

That’s not fair, but it’s real.

Twenty young innocent children and six teachers were gunned down by a maniac in December.

That’s not fair, but it’s real.

With no difficulty, each of us can find example after example of life not being fair.

Many years ago a close friend and mentor gave me some sage advice that has stood me in good stead on many occasions.

He said two things:

Number One. Sometimes life is not fair. Get over it.

Number Two. Sometimes life sucks. Deal with it.

These are words from one of the kindest, most compassionate man I have ever known. They may sound harsh and insensitive but when we examine their truthfulness they help us place powerful and useful perspective around our thinking.

When we go through life expecting things to be fair, we set ourselves up for a lifetime of victimhood. The situation my friends daughter is dealing with may not be pleasant, may not be what she wants, may not be enjoyable and may certainly be unfair, but it is real.

It is what it is and until she changes the meaning around what has happened she will continue to experience the self-imposed angst brought on by her expectations not being met.

She may have no ability to change or influence the outcome of what is happening in her workplace but she is 100% responsible for the effect any of this is happening on her.

She can choose to make herself the victim of poor timing, favoritism, and unfairness or she can place meaning around what is happening that both inspires and encourages her to strive even harder to get that promotion next time it comes around.

I love the insight provided by the serenity prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Wise words to live by.

As in all cases of conflict, my neighbour’s  daughter has three choices.

She can accept things the way they are. This means she can find positive meaning to strive harder for future success.

She can escalate the situation, which means she can push to have her way.

She can exit the relationship which means she can resign her position and seek employment elsewhere.

None of these choices are risk free. Each pose potential challenges yet each option is better than allowing herself to be wrapped in the damaging, soul-destroying cocoon of victim-state.

Each choice offers the possibility of happiness and contentment. Victim-state offers only anger and sadness.

Which would you prefer?

Till we read again.

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