“It’s just not fair!” yelled my seven-year-old daughter.
H er sister had been given a reward from school, a “bucket filler” prize for doing a good deed in the class. She felt like she had missed out on a prize. She felt envious and disappointed and wanted an equal share of what her sister had.
I’m sure you sometimes feel as though life is unfair. When your friend gets the new bike they’ve been dreaming of, when your brother or sister gets the most amazing birthday present or a great reward from school, and you end up feeling as though you’ve missed out.
I could tell you that “life is what you make it” or that you need to be thankful for what you have. But, deep down, would you still feel bad? I wish I could tell you that there was a recipe for making life fair, but I can’t.
Fairness is an instinctive behaviour. Children everywhere seem to dislike getting less than a peer for equal work. Research shows that kids, as young as three years old, have a fundamental sense of fairness. While they may not always act like they do, they have a sophisticated understanding of fairness and reinforcing it.
Not only humans, but also primates seem to understand the same concept. Watch the video below to see what happens when two monkeys are paid unequally for the same work.
The bad news, as this monkey learns: life is unfair.
But there’s good news too. Life is not always unfair. Sometimes things don’t go your way, but then sometimes they do. You have to be determined and go after what you want, because no one will give it to you.
Be determined: don’t give up if things don’t go your way. I guarantee you that sometimes you will feel like the world is against you. That doesn’t mean you should stop trying.
Be assertive: ask for what you want. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.
Be fearless: don’t worry what other people think of you. Don’t let other people control how you see yourself.
Be genuine: know yourself and stick to your ethics and beliefs. Sometimes people will try to lead you astray but you need to stand firm with what you believe in, no one likes a fake.
Be humble: No one is “better” than anybody else. Remember that those who succeed work hard to achieve their goals.
Be kind: when you give away kindness freely, you’re bound to receive some in return. Treat others the way you want to be treated!
Be resilient: Fail with grace, we all fail. The trick to success is to keep trying. Learn from your failures to become a better version of yourself.
The world isn’t fair, but the world is a beautiful place. You are responsible for finding your own way in it, helping to make your own happiness, and sharing what makes you unique.