One of the most dangerous, damaging mindsets to adopt is that of the victim. Blaming your parents, your friends, your school, the city you grew up, the circumstances you were born into, the economic conditions – basically, anything or anyone other than yourself.
I’m sad to see so many of my generation relinquishing personal responsibility, blaming the world for rising property prices, for not finding a rewarding and well paid job straight away. So many twenty-somethings love to be outraged and offended and hurt.
Well, tough shit. Why should we get anything on a plate? Global economic forces do not care how you feel. The inflation rate does not care how you feel. The job market does not care how you feel.
“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
You’re born. You don’t choose where, or when. Do you think anyone would choose to be born a peasant in a Gallic visit during the Roman conquest (and subsequent genocide)? How about growing up to be a Cambodian intellectual – only to be brutally murdered for your academic endeavour?
Of course, we should all strive in our lifetimes for the Rawlsian ideal – essentially, that everyone should have the same equality of opportunity, regardless of where you’re born. That’s one of the most valid, worthy, vitally important goals I can imagine.
But, how does that happen? How do we move closer to that being reality? Certainly not through moaning and wishing things were better. It happens through action.
We have to make the best of what we have, to be grateful for our gifts every single day – and go out and make stuff happen.
There is so much we have absolutely no control over. That’s not a curse – it’s a relief. You can relinquish all responsibility for anything outside your control.
But that relief comes at a cost. It means you have to accept what Jocko Willink calls ‘extreme ownership’. It’s the same attitude Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently wrote about in his phenomenal essay ‘self reliance’.
Don’t blame anyone else. You’re responsible for your life.
Act like it.