Life is unfair. It isn’t designed to have a very direct link between cause and effect. It incorporates randomness. It incorporates luck. Sometimes it seems like it all makes sense and other times it is completely baffling.
But we have to learn to see that we cannot control outside forces but we can control us. We can reach deep inside to determine what we do in the face of life’s unfairness.
Using systems and habits we can piece together an understanding of the system of life and see why there are so many factors that seem unfair. They are part of the system, a system that continues to grow and evolve over time, despite the fact that life’s participants in the system only experience a slight piece of the whole system.
Seeing life systematically also helps us to realize when bad things do happen and we experience misfortune it is up to us to respond. We can sulk and pity our situation or we can rise up, dust ourselves off and keep working.
This sounds easy but it isn’t. The last thing most people want to do after a failure is to keep working hard. We feel we tried that and got nothing from it. Any reasonable person should probably say that we could have gotten the same outcome by doing nothing, and that would be much easier.
So we have to start learning that we can’t take misfortune and crumble. We have to be able to adjust, adapt and keep moving forward.
In Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven, he says, “It is easy to blame your lot in life on some outside force, to stop trying because you believe fate is against you. It is easy to think that where you were raised, how your parents treated you, or what school you went to is all that determines your future. Nothing could be further from the truth. The common people and the great men and women are all defined by how they deal with life’s unfairness: Helen Keller, Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking, Malala Yousafzai, and – Moki Martin (a Navy SEAL who became paralyzed while biking but went on to do great things in life.)”
I believe we all have the capability to turn misfortune into something great. We can all overcome adversity and challenge and come out better. But too often we get caught up in blaming outside forces. We don’t hold ourselves accountable and push to become greater.
But if we start to use the systems and habits approach to improvement we are constantly focused on making slight improvements. These are ours to own, not something external that we hope ends up the way we want. Making small tweaks to your routines and habits you can slowly develop the life you desire and the systems necessary to succeed.