Category Archives: Context

Don’t Mistake Entitlement for Unfairness

“Life is unfair.”  No it’s not: life is life, it follows its course.  The world on its own has no concept of fairness or unfairness.  Often times people feel the world is unfair to them because it doesn’t give them what they think is due to them. What they fail to understand is: the world doesn’t owe them anything.  The world is not a conscious entity you interact with.  Once you realize this, you can escape the “me against the world” fallacy and realize that the unfairness you might feel stems from the entitlement which makes you expect the world to give you things.  Therefore the real problem is entitlement.

Concepts like “Deserve” and “Entitlement” and “Fairness” are human inventions, they are not a property of reality. Once you realize this, you can understand why the world doesn’t operate the way you think it should. Nature does not believe you deserve anything, nor does it believe you are entitled to anything.  It doesn’t even acknowledge you exist.  Expecting Nature to abide by your expectations is unrealistic, and calling that unfairness is an incorrect categorization.  It is just Nature’s nature.

Not only is entitlement a wrong mentality to have for the world, but it is wrong to think that your view of entitlement is the right one.  Because entitlement is a human construct it is subjective on all levels.  What you deserve, when you deserve it, and why you deserve it changes based on who you ask.  Some people believe you deserve respect, other people believe you earn it.  Some people believe you deserve respect when you’re born, others believe it’s when you’ve reached a certain age, or proven yourself somehow, perhaps by surviving in [the wild/civilization] on your own.  The ‘entitlement’ you have to things is therefore very contextual, varying from person to person, culture to culture.  

Some people may argue that in a civilization there are objective laws which govern the land and when those laws aren’t upheld it’s unfairness.  This too is wrong because laws and civilization are run by people, and the interpretation of the laws of the land is decided by the enforcing person’s world view, not yours.  Therefore, you should not be surprised if the enforcing person’s view on fairness does not align with your view and if they act in a way that you disagree with.  This is why there is no fairness on your terms in the world. This is why it is wrong to assume that because laws were written to be objective, the interpretation of said laws will be in line with your subjective interpretation of what an objective interpretation is.

You can overcome entitlement by changing your expectations.  You should expect nothing from the world.  The world works the way it does independently of you. If you stop expecting things in return, you can stop feeling the bitterness and resentment that stems from entitlement, and you can stop focusing on the unfairness and wasting your time and energy on a negative emotion that does you no good.  Instead, you can invest that energy and time in activities that increase the likelihood of you achieving your dreams. Not expecting anything from the world is not the same as giving up on trying to get anything from the world: If you want something go and get it.  All I wish to point out is that if you don’t get it, after you’ve put in a lot of work to get it, it’s not because life is unfair: life is life. Let go of entitlement, and replace it with appreciation for what you are given and do have.  You will be happier this way.  

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Skill is the Sum of Small Details

Many people, when they almost succeed but don’t because of a small detail, downplay the small detail’s role as a reflection of a lack of skill.  Instead, they claim to have the skills necessary to succeed but that they were unlucky.  The chance of that small detail occurring was too small to warrant preparing for, and therefore they have the skill to succeed in most cases.  

To that I say: Yes, you have the skill to achieve in most cases, but it is important to note that experienced professionals take care of the small details and can succeed in more than most cases. In fact, that’s what you pay them for, and that’s where they demonstrate their experience and skill: in their ability to handle the small details.  Anyone can follow a recipe and cook an egg, but it is in the small details of how you execute each step that a professional chef can be distinguished from an amateur cook.  To explain it another way: the more times you follow the same recipe, the more chances you have of making mistakes, and the more chances you have of gaining experience on how to correct the mistakes that you see happening.  Therefore, an experienced cook following the same recipe as an amateur cook will cook a better meal because when a “small detail” comes up, the experienced cook will know how to take care of the small detail while the amateur will not.

Therefore, if you seek to become truly skilled, it is not right to distance yourself from responsibility and place blame on the small detail.  Rather, take responsibility for the small details since they have significant enough impacts to cause you to fail.  Think about that last statement: if the detail was important enough to cause you to fail, doesn’t that make it a rather important detail and not a small one?  As such, there is no such thing as a small detail: if it impacts the outcome, it is a major detail that you over looked and should plan for and protect against in the future.   What is skill but the culmination of a bunch of small details?

This post is part of AttemptedLiving’s Life Education Curriculum, a collection of core knowledge everyone should have.  See the “Life Philosophy” section.

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Freedom Ladder

Rights

  • Right to Water
  • Right to Food
  • Right to Shelter
  • Right to Safety
  • Right to Social Acceptance
  • Right to Social Acceptance on your terms
  • Right to Power (to Voice your Opinion, and have influence)

Discrimination

  • by Gender
  • by Ethnicity/Race
  • by Religion
  • by Sexual Orientation
  • by Attractiveness/Culture/Likes/Dislikes/Similarities/Differences
  • by Criminal Record
  • by Disease (AIDS, Cancer)
  • by Disability
  • by Thoughts: Are you willing to agree to disagree, or do you hold the disagreement against the person

To find out when more Life Education Curriculum is released, subscribe on the side! Follow on Twitter, on Facebook, on Google+, on Tumblr.  Please share your comments to this post below.