What Makes You So Special?

Good morning! Hope your day is off to a great start.

One of the things that amuses me most about kids is their perception of “fair.” It’s not fair they have to go to bed. It’s not fair they have to do homework while the other kids are playing. It’s not fair they have to clean their own room. It’s not fair that they only get one shot of bourbon in their sippy cup. Okay, that last one may not be entirely legal, but tell me you’ve never considered it.

As toddlers, we learn about fair play quickly. What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine. We share. Toys, germs, broccoli, and mom’s lipstick. Funny, mom is all about sharing until you start sifting through her purse. And the other kids? Well, it depends who’s bigger. When you’re the little guy, you share. Everyone else receives. Those are the rules.

Somehow, we carry this slanted idea of fairness into adulthood. When I joined the Navy, I didn’t think it was fair that I was always the one to clean toilets. Nobody else took their turn. I mean, they had no qualms about using those toilets, but I was the one who got stuck cleaning them. No fair!!! Okay, I never actually said that. I only look stupid. Besides, there were lots of other toilets on that ship.

But then I put a couple of stripes on my sleeve, and things changed. All of a sudden, I got to sit there and sip coffee while the new guy got stuck cleaning toilets. And the whole time his face was screaming “no fair!” I did my best to hide my smile. Fair? You bet it is! Go get yourself some stripes! That’s your job now! Until the new guy goes on vacation. Then … well, you know. “Oh, Daaave!!!”

It’s that warped sense of fairness that holds us back in real life. On the job, in relationships, in society, and in business. We expect to be treated fairly. And we may even try to set a good example, but only until somebody else gives us the shaft. “Leftovers again??? And you think I’m gonna fix the brakes on your car? Yeah, hand me the toolbox!” Okay, in my defense, she never actually hit anything.

On the other side of that equation is the notion of entitlement. You want something, some form of reward that you haven’t yet achieved. Maybe it’s a promotion or a new job. Maybe it’s a bigger house. It could be as simple as a weekend without the company cell phone, or as grand as a new boat. But, do you really deserve it? I mean, everybody else would like a little of that action, too. Right?

One of the biggest things that holds us back from reaching our full potential is the feeling that we’re no more deserving of that success than anybody else. It’s hard to look a person in the eye when they’ve been working in the same job as you for the past ten years and, two years in, you’re applying for a promotion. Why you? How is that fair to them? You almost feel guilty even trying.

No matter what it is you want to accomplish, the first thing you have to get past is that feeling that you may not deserve it. Unless you break the law or sacrifice your moral values along the way, you deserve whatever level of success you can achieve. And if you do step outside the law, you still get what you deserve. Try looking the judge in the eyes and crying, “No fair!” I dare you.

Beyond that, if you’re willing to take a risk, make the sacrifices, do the work, and put up with other people’s BS along the way, you deserve whatever your heart desires. And what about that other person? Well, they could have the same thing as you. In fact, once you achieve your goals, you can show them how. Sometimes we do more for others simply by leading the way.

There is nothing in this world that is above your level of privilege. Sure, if you were born into a “normal” family you may have to work a little harder. But that only means you’ll appreciate your success that much more. Never sell out your dreams simply because you’re not sure you’re worthy. You are. Get that in your head now, and there’s not much that can ever hold you back.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Earn What You Deserve, and You Deserve What You’ve Earned

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off just right.

So, the year is half over … how are you doing on your goals for the year? Yeah, I know. I didn’t even set that one up with a light jab. I just went straight for the knockout punch. But it’s a question we all need to answer if we want to accomplish anything worthwhile.

And I’m not even talking about New Year’s resolutions, because we all know how that went. According to Forbes Magazine, only 8% of us have accomplished our resolutions for the year. The rest of us gave up long ago. I made a resolution once to never again make a New Year’s resolution, and I even broke that one. Go figure.

I’ve made a little progress toward my goals for the year. Not nearly as much as I’d envisioned by this point in the year, but it’s a step in the right direction. And sometimes, that’s the hardest part. It’s easy to make a decision, to commit to making a positive change. Doing something about it takes a little more effort. And that’s where most of us fall short.

The problem is largely in our minds – we know what needs to be done, but maybe we don’t think we can actually do it. Or we blow it out of proportion and make it a lot more dramatic than it really is. After all, who wants to celebrate tying their shoes every morning? If I’m going to spend my time and energy on something, it’s got to be something BIG!

Another thing is that sense of entitlement, or the lack of it. We know what we want. We’re even willing to work for it. But do we really deserve it? After all, everybody around us is right about where we are in life. What makes us so special? Why should we have anything more than the people who are doing exactly what we’re doing every day?

Well, if we’re going to put forth exactly the same amount of effort as everyone else, then we haven’t really earned anything better. That kid who studies hard every day, puts forth their best effort, and turns in every assignment on time, deserves an A. And then there’s that kid who goofs off all day and would love to get an A, but knows deep down he doesn’t deserve it.

It’s when we question our entitlement to enjoy a better life that we find it hard to put forth the effort. We dream about it, but deep down there’s that nagging reminder that, for most of the people enjoying that life, they already put forth the effort. They did the work and now they’re reaping the reward. And here we are, still thinking about it.

What sets achievers apart from the rest of us isn’t heredity or education or upbringing or even blind luck. It’s the willingness to work for something better. It’s having a dream, believing in themselves enough to go for it, and following through until they reach their goal. And, just like that student in school working for an A, they’ve earned success. They deserve it.

And make no mistake, there will be some who scoff at their ambitions or try to take away that sense of entitlement for something they’re doing the work to accomplish. “Seriously? You’ve lived on this side of town your whole life! You never even went to college! What makes you think you deserve to live over there?”

And if nobody says that to us directly, we’ll fill in the blanks. Because our brain only knows what it’s been taught. Every bit of knowledge comes from something in our past – something we experienced, something we learned, or even something we saw somebody else try. And it’s hard to get our brain to think beyond what it knows.

But if you’re out there working for something you want, not letting anything stand in the way, you absolutely deserve the success for which you’re working. If that person sitting next to you thinks they deserve the same level of success as you, then maybe they should be out there working for it as well.

Dreaming is easy, and it’s really not so much of a stretch to believe we could someday achieve our dreams. But that element of entitlement, of knowing we’ve earned the success we desire, comes from putting forth the effort. The harder you work, the more deserving you feel, and that makes you want to work even harder.

You deserve whatever level of success you desire and are willing to work to achieve. Life isn’t always fair, but it tends to show a preference for those who earn what they desire. Take that first step. It’s really not as big as it seems. Just do the work and believe in yourself. The reward will be that much sweeter knowing what it took to get there.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved