Bill Gates' number one rule is "Life is not fair. Get used to it."
I have always found this a tough pill to swallow.
I have suffered all throughout my teen and adult life a very common affliction for young men in the modern age.
I suffer from the expectation that life should be easy and comfortable and that I deserve this as of right.
However I have learned and am still learning that life is not fair. It's not easy and comfortable. Life can be hard and sometimes, unbearably so.
I know this on a logical level. I'm sure you do too. Of course life is hard.
But what about the emotional level? Do you get frustrated when difficult circumstances arise? I do.
In particular I've struggled with this in regards to career and work. You spend such a large amount of your week at work, yet there is always a reason to hate it or be frustrated by it.
It might be boring, stressful, too demanding, too difficult or any number of other things. Even if it is the perfect job you are only ever going to enjoy it 80% of the time. And the perfect job doesn't always stay perfect forever as you change and the organisation changes.
I've really struggled to accept this and still get frustrated when things aren't perfect. I was even working on my online businesses full time for a while and while the work was awesome, I got lonely working by myself. I couldn't deal with it, so I went back to a 9 to 5.
For me the problem has always been work. For you it might be relationships, either family or romantic. A lot of people struggle to stay in a long term relationship because they can't deal with their partners' flaws after the honeymoon period wears off.
Rather than committing to the hard work of a real relationship you end up thinking the grass is greener somewhere else and bailing out.
The Reality You Need To Accept
What you need to accept is that you are not entitled to an easy life. The modern west has it so good compared to others areas in the world and compared to other eras in history. We really have no right to complain.
People have to overcome all sorts of trials and difficulties in life. It's not life being unfair to you, it's just how it is. Some people get cancer, some people die young, some people live in poverty or a warzone.
Paradoxically people who face the most hardship are often the ones who still have a huge smile on their face, while those well off suffer from Affluenza. 1
What you need to understand is that even if you feel hard done by or that life isn't fair, no one cares how you feel. The world doesn't have any sympathy for your feelings and you won't get a hand up because of it.
All the world cares about is what you do to add value and how you make an impact. In your work, what is your productive output and how high a value is the work that you produce?
As a friend, how much are you there for other people? As a partner, what sacrifices do you make for the woman in your life?
Life cares about what you give, not about the rewards you think you deserve.
It can be hard to swallow but this is the real world. You don't get anything for free. You have to work hard and add value, you have to suffer and strive to better yourself.
Life is a competition. Even though you are told that it's not, it most certainly is. School and college try to insulate you from this put the reality is you are competing for jobs, girls, resources, power and status.
Once you accept this life becomes easier. When you accept that life is hard then it is easier to live with peace and joy and enjoy the nice moments, instead of being angry and bitter about why it can be so difficult.
It's easy to fall into the trap of wanting life to be easy and comfortable.
But as a man this would make you soft. Character is formed in adversity and a streneous life is the one that ultimately provides you with the most satisfaction and growth.
Try not to be angry and frustrated when life gets hard. Accept that as the natural course of things, make peace with that fact and strive ahead regardless.
Life is much more satsifying when you can embrace the tough moments and throw yourself headfirst into all the challenges that being a man entails.
- James, O. (2007). Affluenza London: Vermillion.
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