Its Not Fair

It’s not fair or It’s just not fair.  Have we not thought that and even said it?  Have we not thought that about everyone who has something that we don’t?  Have we not wondered why life isn’t fair?  Some will say that Life is Not Fair and in many ways its true.  However, is that really true?  Is that perspective of fairness even fair?

I have come across many times when I have thought, that’s not fair.  How could so and so be promoted?  How could I not have been selected for an award and so on?  From my perspective, it’s just not fair.  However, there are many aspects to perspective and therefore just to judge someone on a scale that is ever evolving and different person to person is rifled with faults.

What do you do when you feel that “it’s not fair”?    How do you get of the negative perspective?  Here are a few quick tips:

1.  Life is only fair through your eyes.  Therefore through the eyes of everyone, it is fair, just not to someone else.  Once you accept that perspective, then the means by which we compare or judge others will need to be released.  What are you happy with?  What drives you?  What are you passionate about?  What are your strengths?  What are you good at?  Focus on those because you are most probably good at it.

2.  Don’t compare or judge others.  You are accountable for you, your actions and your thoughts.  Others are accountable for their actions and thoughts.  There is no “right” or “wrong” in most cases with the exception of against the law type situation.  The better question is whether the exercise was useful or not.  Useful to learn from or improve upon or not.  The reality is I can’t play golf like Lydia Ko even though I feel that its unfair how someone so young could have all that talent.  What I don’t see is just how much hard work she puts into it and the sacrifices that she would have made to be successful.  Therefore, comparison of this nature is not helpful.

3.  “Life is Not Fair” is in the eyes of the beholder.  Taking on a glass half full or empty perspective.  If we only see the half empty perspective then probably your view of situations will be “Life is Not Fair”.  But don’t become a victim because there are any aspects of your life that I am sure brings a smile to your face.  What brings a smile to your face?  What are you most proud of?  What stories would you tell your children and grandchildren?

4.  This is your one life – Live it Up.  We only live once and we can choose to live it up or down.  I am sure that we have all read many articles and books about people and their regrets, let’s not be one of them.  Let’s choose to live our your passion and dreams.  Choose to make the most of the time you have with your family, friends and how you spend your time.

Life is fair because all of us only have ONE.

How do you break your cycle of negativity?

I am sure that every one of us goes through a cycle of being down or negative.  We see the world and everything in it including ourselves through a great big lense of failure or pessimism.  When we realise or are aware that we are in this cycle, what do we do to break this pattern?  What sort of pattern interruption strategies do you use?  How long does your cycle typically last?

What works for me is to do the following:

1.  Be aware:  Be aware that I am in that “negative” stage.  Triggers that I have realised are lack of sleep or just feeling tired, when I am not feeling well e.g headaches, annoyed with something that had happened etc.  I would catch myself being impatient over small matters or thinking something dreadful or feeling like nothing I would do would work.  Awareness and acknowledgement of the situation is my first step.

2.  Pattern Interruptions:  Actions that can be taken to break that pattern or cycle.  For me, depending on time and situation can range from taking a walk/run to listing down all the things that I am grateful for.  I would also take out my journal and remind myself the reasons or purpose for what I am doing what I am doing.  Focusing on the core beliefs and motivations help me to be centered and hopeful with expectations and anticipations.  What do you do?  What can you do?

3.  Have an action plan to remove the triggers of negativity.  Being aware of a problem is good and having a plan to minimise or prevent a problem is even better.  For me, since my triggers are tiredness, I need to be mindful that I need enough sleep.  Going back to my routine or establishing a routine is critical.  Catching the start of a headache and taking medication is important to ensure that it does not become a full-blown headache.  Keeping my exercise routine helps me to feel good and clears my mind to focus on the simple things of life e.g I still have my health hence I can run.  What is yours? What do you enjoy doing?  What is your passion?  What is your feel good activity?

Let me know what you do to break your cycle of negativity.

Perception of Change: How to change? Embrace and Extend.

Whenever we hear the word “Change”, the majority of responses would fall into these categories:

  • Fear, Anxiety and Dread
  • Fear and then Excitement
  • Excitement and Anticipation.  Probably only from the people who caused the change.

It is no surprise that as “routine and comfort loving human beings”, any thing that requires us to change or do things differently will invoke a negative reaction.  Our perspective on “change” is almost always tied to something negative or bad.  I think that all of us can relate to an experience where we had to “change” the way we worked or behaved and change is never comfortable.  Change of routines and schedules can create anxiety, frustration because it means that we are no longer in control.  At the center of the negative perception of change is the fact that we are no longer in control.  For type A personalities, that is just disastrous.  Unless of course as type A personalities, you created the change.

How and what can we do to change our perspective on “change”?

1.  View “change” as an opportunity.  I remember many years ago, when I was working in Microsoft, we were faced with the Internet Browser battle between Netscape and Internet Explorer.  Netscape created a change in the industry to how we viewed the contents of the internet.  There was a “mantra” at that time, “Embrace and Extend”.  Embrace the net and extend the capabilities.   In many ways that’s exactly what happened in the browser war.  Internet Explorer embraced the features of Netscape and then extended it beyond and who can remember what happened to Netscape?   I thought that was the best tagline.  Much like Nike’s Just Do It.  If we view “change” as “Embrace and Extend”, we are not viewing it as a threat but as an opportunity.

2.  Embrace the change.  Embrace the change, take the opportunity to learn and develop your skills or adapt to the situation.  The faster we are able to see the situation through the lense of opportunity or development, the faster we are able to shift our mindset of resistance to adapting to the change.  Embracing the change will required changes to how you do certain things, what you do as well as who you might need to work with.  None of those areas are negatives, all can be positives as it will serve as a platform for growth and learnings.

3.  Extend the change.  Extending the change now serves as a platform for you to be ahead of the curve and maybe even cause you to be at the forefront of leading the next wave of change.  To extend the change requires you to shift your perspective from taking on the change to leading the change.

Change is the only constant and our survival depends on how self-aware and self-critical we are in order to view perceptions and perspectives differently.  Questions that you can ask yourself:  What is driving the negative perspectives towards that change?  What skills or abilities do I have today that can still be used?  What skills or abilities do I need work on in order to be successful?  What can I do or actions to take that will remove the fear or doubt?  Reflect on the past, how did you handle changes in the past?  What would you do differently?  What are the opportunities that will arise from this change?

As the Borg tagline in Star Trek goes “Resistance is Futile.”  Always be a student of change and never the victim of change.

Change for survival

I came across this interesting quote by W. Edwards Deming “It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.”  It is true that we don’t have to change or even embrace change, but what would that leave us.  Change is filled with fear, resistance and the unknown but it is all around us.  In businesses, change is constant and in technology change is better known as innovation.  Change in one’s life is more recognisable as personal development.  All these different words are used to reflect what change forces us to do and to become.

If I were to look back a year and reflect on what has changed in my life and how much I have changed, its really quite interesting.  Physically I have more grey hair, published my first book, entered into the coaching realm, led a group of ladies, increased my general knowledge of useless information and the list goes on.  Why did that happen?  I enjoy learning and growing.  I enjoy the challenge of taking on new projects and seeing the outcome.  My circumstances did not change to force me to change but I wanted to grow and learn hence had to create change in my life in order to achieve that.

There are those of us who will create change and those who change because they are forced to.  The response in both those scenarios are entirely up to you.  Think about :  What is your perceived view to change?  What is your typical response to change?  Do you embrace and extend or reject and rebel?  What drives those responses?  How can you become a student of change and not a victim of change?  How can you anticipate and plan for change?  What are you holding on to that stops you from changing?  Why bother changing as everything is great now?  If we think that the quote above is true that change is mandatory for survival then the answer is clear as well.

Tomorrow I will dwell deeper into what are the perceptions of change and what we can do to shift that perception.

Why do we want more?

I was in a discussion with some friends recently and the topic was about not having enough.  Not enough money to send the kids to private school, not enough time to rest, not enough time to read and the list goes on.  Bear in mind, that by all standards, we all have enough and in some cases, more than enough and yet there is a sense that it is not enough.  Why is that?  What drives us to want more?  What makes us think or believe that by having more of something, we will be better or that we would be happier?  Why can’t be we contend with what we have?

We came up with a few conclusions:

1.  Conditioned to believe that More is good.  This starts very young.  Toddlers already know that they want more.  It’s a natural survival instinct in a way to want more so that we are not starved.  What child does not want more toys even though he already has baskets full of toys.  Something bigger, flashier and shinier is always better.

2.   Comparison.  We live in a society where we compare with those around us.  In order to “win” that comparison, there is an underlying belief that having something that the other person does not have will make us better compared with someone else.  For example, when people around us have a bigger or nicer car, the “desire” to be like them drives us to want that too even though the current car works beautifully.

3.  Underlying belief that enough is NOT good enough.  There is a strong sense in all of us that what we have is never enough.  It is not good enough.  I have enough gadgets in my house and yet I am looking at new and more advance ones.  Why?  I can’t fit them all into my humble abode.  I have a relatively new golf set and yet at the back of my mind, I am wondering if I bought a new wedge, maybe my short game with be better.  The reality is that in most cases, enough is good enough.

4.  Entitlement.  We sometimes feel that we are entitled to more than what we have.  Most children today feel that they are entitled to a phone and not just any phone, a smartphone and not just any smartphone but an iPhone or a Samsung.  We feel entitled for the promotion because of the amount of hours and hard work that we put in.  What we don’t know if how much more the other person put in to get to where they are.

So what’s the solution?

1.  More in not always good for you.  Eating more food is not good for you.  Drinking more alcohol is certainly not good for you.  Working too many hours is not good for you.  Too much stress is not good for your health.  The conclusion is that too much of anything is just not good for you.  Questions that you can ask yourself:  Why do I want more of something?  What would happen if I don’t have it?  What would happen if I did get it?  What is truly of value to me?

2.  Balance is what we should be striving for.  Everything is moderation, how much we work, time we spend with our families, healthy living and so on.  To achieve that the key questions to answer are:  What is my balance?  How much is good for me?  Am I spending the appropriate amount of time on what I enjoy?  Am I growing as an individual?  What is driving me to want more?  Is it a need or a want?  Can I spend my time or money in a more useful way?

3.  Be happy with self.  Just be contended with who you are and what you have and don’t have.  This will take away the need to compare and even if people compare you with someone else, you won’t be unsettled by it.  This does not mean that you will not strive to be better or to improve in any way.  This just means that you are comfortable and confident about you.  Questions to ask:  What makes me happy?  What is my purpose?  Am I living in alignment with that purpose?  What drives me or motivates me?

I was reading a recent study that concluded that running more does not mean that you will live longer.  In fact running less may help you to live longer.  Now of course that study has been made light off due to the sample size but it goes to show, more does not mean better.