Life is not fair

What do I  mean by LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

The phrase means that no one has control over what happens in life. Events happen randomly. The universe has no conscience and is not aware of right/wrong, fair/unfair etc. It can also include the behavior of people toward each other. Only the naive expect others to be fair.

But guess what


The truth is, life is just playing by different rules.

The real rules are there. They actually make sense. But they’re a bit more complicated, and a lot less comfortable, which is why most people never manage to learn them.

Let try this

Rule #1: Life is a competition


That business you work for? Someone’s trying to kill it. That job you like? Someone would love to replace you with a computer program. That girlfriend / boyfriend / high-paying job / Nobel Prize that you want? So does somebody else.

We’re all in competition, although we prefer not to realise it. Most achievements are only notable relative to others. You swam more miles, or can dance better, or got more Facebook Likes than the average. Well done.

It’s a painful thing to believe, of course, which is why we’re constantly assuring each other the opposite. “Just do your best”, we hear. “You’re only in competition with yourself”. The funny thing about platitudes like that is they’re designed to make you try harder anyway. If competition really didn’t matter, we’d tell struggling children to just give up.

Fortunately, we don’t live in a world where everyone has to kill each other to prosper. The blessing of modern civilisation is there’s abundant opportunities, and enough for us all to get by, even if we don’t compete directly.

But never fall for the collective delusion that there’s not a competition going on. People dress up to win partners. They interview to win jobs. If you deny that competition exists, you’re just losing. Everything in demand is on a competitive scale. And the best is only available to those who are willing to truly fight for it.

Rule #2. You’re judged by what you do, not what you think


Society judges people by what they can do for others. Can you save children from a burning house, or remove a tumour, or make a room of strangers laugh? You’ve got value right there.

That’s not how we judge ourselves though. We judge ourselves by our thoughts.

“I’m a good person”. “I’m ambitious”. “I’m better than this.” These idle impulses may comfort us at night, but they’re not how the world sees us. They’re not even how we see other people.

Well-meaning intentions don’t matter. An internal sense of honour and love and duty count for squat. What exactly can you and have you done for the world?

Abilities are not prized by their virtue. Whatever admiration society awards us, comes from the selfish perspectives of others. A hard working janitor is less rewarded by society than a ruthless stockbroker. A cancer researcher is rewarded less than a supermodel. Why? Because those abilities are rarer and impact more people.

We like to like to think that society rewards those who do the best work. Like so:

But in reality, social reward is just a network effect. Reward comes down mostly to the number of people you impact:

Write an unpublished book, you’re nobody. Write Harry Potter and the world wants to know you. Save a life, you’re a small-town hero, but cure cancer and you’re a legend. Unfortunately, the same rule applies to all talents, even unsavoury ones: get naked for one person and you might just make them smile, get naked for fifty million people and you might just be Kim Kardashian.

You may hate this. It may make you sick. Reality doesn’t care. You’re judged by what you have the ability to do, and the volume of people you can impact. If you don’t accept this, then the judgement of the world will seem very unfair indeed.


Rule #3. Our idea of fairness is self interest

People like to invent moral authority. It’s why we have referees in sports games and judges in courtrooms: we have an innate sense of right and wrong, and we expect the world to comply. Our parents tell us this. Our teachers teach us this. Be a good boy, and have some candy.

But reality is indifferent. You studied hard, but you failed the exam. You worked hard, but you didn’t get promoted. You love her, but she won’t return your calls.

The problem isn’t that life is unfair; it’s your broken idea of fairness.

Take a proper look at that person you fancy but didn’t fancy you back. That’s a complete person. A person with years of experience being someone completely different to you. A real person who interacts with hundreds or thousands of other people every year.

Now what are the odds that among all that, you’re automatically their first pick for love-of-their-life? Because – what – you exist? Because you feel something for them? That might matter to you, but their decision is not about you.

Similarly we love to hate our bosses and parents and politicians. Their judgements are unfair. And stupid. Because they don’t agree with me! And they should! Because I am unquestionably the greatest authority on everything ever in the whole world!

It’s true there are some truly awful authority figures. But they’re not all evil, self-serving monsters trying to line their own pockets and savour your misery. Most are just trying to do their best, under different circumstances to your own.

Maybe they know things you don’t – like, say, your company will go bust if they don’t do something unpopular. Maybe they have different priorities to you – like, say, long term growth over short term happiness.

But however they make you feel, the actions of others are not some cosmic judgement on your being. They’re just a byproduct of being alive.

Why life isn’t fair

Our idea of fairness isn’t actually obtainable. It’s really just a cloak for wishful thinking.

Can you imagine how insane life would be if it actually was ‘fair’ to everyone? No-one could fancy anyone who wasn’t the love of their life, for fear of breaking a heart. Companies would only fail if everyone who worked for them was evil. Relationships would only end when both partners died simultaneously. Raindrops would only fall on bad people.

Most of us get so hung up on how we think the world should work that we can’t see how it does. But facing that reality might just be the key to unlocking your understanding of the world, and with it, all of your potential.



what  can you say about life ??



332 thoughts on “Life is not fair

  1. Life is truely full of ups and downs all we have to do is to try our best and make ourselves happy no matter the situation we face in life

  2. The truth abt life towards my standard is jst like a competition dat resist between one another and is just a situation will passed through at all time

  3. The truth abt life towards my standard is jst like a competition dat resist between one another and is just a situation will passed through at all time

  4. I quite agree that life is not fair. It gives no notice before actions and there is no equity in the way and manners life treats human beings.

  5. Good write up, but i don’t agree with that rule #1 , life is not competition because there is a lot of ways to fortunate in this life, i will here say LIFE HAS NO FORMULA

    Thank you

  6. It’s part of why actions speaks louder than words!!! No matter what you think or say, what you do is the basis on which the world sees you!!! Thanks TMC

  7. Of course we all knows that life is full of competition. But one thing that sweet me most is that, there is no competition in destiny.

  8. Life is a unfair race where those that practice in advance lose the game to those that didn’t practice
    Only destiny with prayers that will bring luck to individuals

  9. What a nice piece, so educating, in it does not what people say about, or judges you or look you down ,you font have to see them,don’t feel discourage, stand on your ground and move on, don’t be a man pleaser don’t live by people opinion, don’t believe that you can not do it,tell them you are the best and the last of your kind

  10. Hummmm….life indeed is not fair… Many things are happening here and there..did you forget already?, that our fingers are not equal, our colours are different, our shapes are different, our height can never be the same so as our altitude, so now tell me how will life be fair?… It can never be ..the job is left for me and you.. How do we treat others?… That’s left for everyone to answer…

  11. Life is like a puzzle and only those with sound mind, great thinkers e.t.c are able to solve the mystery.. So let us learn how to think well before making decisions and above all put God first.

  12. Life is indeed a competition but if you try to satisfy people at your own discomfort, they will laugh at you. Let try to do our best and leave the rest. Live within your means,cut your coat according to your clothe. Thank you TMC for the words of wisdom.

  13. Life is indeed not fair and also full of competition.But one thing l strongly believe and know that is that without God ordained you to be you must become it can only delayed not denied.God shall open our eyes to retrace our steps and also know his plans for us all Amen!!!

  14. truth abt life towards my standard is jst like a competition dat resist between one another and is just a situation will passed through at all time

  15. God himself did not make life to be fair so that there will be respect for each other. We are in a competitive world, especially in this Nigeria. Try to be the best you can

  16. True success in life is primarily depend on your relationship with the holy spirit he is the important factor of success the Bible says “it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth but of God that showth mercy, don’t be ashamed of were you are you can start now,it is never too late to learn, we all learn every day be part of this platform and turn things around for good,God will help you

  17. The wost thing one can do to his or herself is to live their lives to trying to please or fit into what people wants and what themselves want. Thanks for this.

  18. Most of us get so hung up on how we think the world should work that we can’t see how it does. But facing that reality might just be the key to unlocking your understanding of the world, and with it, all of your potential. Very true…

  19. True this life really isn’t fair especially being judged by what u do and not what u think I wish it’s fair facing reality is quite difficult too,,…

  20. Life, to me, depends on how you perceive it and what you do with it. If you are always pessimistic about life, then it will become unfair to you. But if you view life with enthusiasm, positivity and be proactive in your operation, life will always be fair to you. That’s my belief.

  21. Smiles….
    Good write up for insight. What e say life isn’t fair because we as a human can’t still understand it. It is not created for us to understand. Just live it to your best

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