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The universe is structured to have inequalities. However, instead of accepting these inequalities, most of us resist the inequalities and fight against them. The act of fighting against the inequalities consumes energy, makes us unhappy, and ultimately causes us an incredible amount of unnecessary stress that we could instead channel into something far more productive.
The secret of happiness and changing your life is accepting the inequalities out there and experiencing them for what they are. Once you have accepted these inequalities, you are free to have the life you choose. There’s a mindset that most of us have, however, that is constantly comparing, judging and trying to resist the inequalities in our own lives.
In your career, if you put your energy into doing the best with the tasks before you and not resisting them, you will do far, far better than if you constantly compare and contrast. The ability to experience and be in the here and now with what you do is incredibly empowering. It will change your life.
When I was in my third year of high school, my parents decided that I needed a new car because the used cars I’d owned up until that point in time were always breaking down on the side of the road and costing hundreds of dollars in repairs. I lived pretty far from school and there were no buses serving where I lived.
My mother was extremely happy when she found out that a new car called “the Yugo” was available for less than $4,000, which wouldn’t cost her more than $100 a month in payments. As it would happen, she purchased one for me. If I hadn’t been going to a private school, it probably would have been okay. However, at the time, my friends were driving things like new BMWs and so forth and were very proud of their cars. I was proud of my little Yugo as well; however, it was very difficult to enjoy this car for several reasons.
People loved to make fun of it. Everyone. I would get jokes about the car at stop lights, in parking lots. Even when delivery men brought packages to the house and I answered the door I would be offered a joke or two about the car. It was also a horrible car and I was always in the repair shop. In fact, I spent days in the repair shop for one thing or another.
I thought the jokes about the car were pretty funny. Nevertheless, one of the most annoying things about this car was the fact that a bunch of guys who spent their afternoons in the school’s weight room developed an exercise called “Yugo Squats” where they would go out and pick up my car during lunch hour and move it 50 yards or more from where I parked it. I would then come out to the parking lot at the end of the day and my car would be perched precipitously on some unusual location on the school grounds and sometimes it would take me awhile to find it. I could always drive it away, but what at first was funny soon became somewhat annoying.
I tried to laugh all of this off but was never all that happy about it. Especially troublesome was when I and groups of kids would go out during the weekend in a caravan of cars and I would be driving my car behind their shiny new sports cars. The reason this was so painful for me was that it made me feel “separated” from other kids in many ways. When we feel separated from others, we are in pain.
The largest problem with the way I felt in making these contrasts was how I allowed it to affect my mind. It made me feel like I wasn’t entitled to date the women I wanted. Like I wasn’t as cool as the kids with the good cars. I allowed it to affect my self confidence and whom I believed I was inside. I allowed this to determine the groups of kids I felt comfortable and uncomfortable socializing with. In effect, I allowed a contrast to have a major impact on my life. I constantly felt a sense of lack about this car and didn’t feel good about myself due to it.
This is a very important example and something that’s more significant in many ways than you may first realize. Our careers and lives are controlled to a large extent by how we think of ourselves and perceive ourselves. If we allow ourselves to make contrasts with others and external conditions, we will never experience joy and fulfillment and, ultimately, we will be held back. For example, what if my dream girl just got out of a relationship with a guy who drove around in a Porsche? At the time, I imagine I would have felt I wasn’t good enough for her due to the contrast with the car. This is crazy and it makes no sense but I can tell you right now that this is the sort of thing I would have felt.
Contrasting myself with someone based on the car he or she drove makes no sense. Feeling a sense of lack and insecurity due to this also makes no sense. But this is something we all do in our lives and careers. We allow contrasts to define us and hold us back instead of just trying to experience what is in front of us. The reason this is so harmful is because when we start defining ourselves based on what others are doing, we often “psych out” ourselves. This does us no good. Moreover, we spend needless energy worrying about what we don’t have instead of being present in the here and now.
In truth, I was extremely lucky to have this car. My mother worked for the government and the car was the most she could afford. She was making a real sacrifice getting me this car and it was a really nice thing to do. The car also gave me freedom to get around and a bunch of other positive things. However, instead of appreciating what I had, I decided there were lots of reasons to feel bad about my lot in life. High school would have been a lot more enjoyable for me if I hadn’t had this silly Yugo. Or would it have?
During the final months at my high school, I was so used to “being different” because of my car, that I decided to start an asphalt business. I bought a truck and had “Barnes Asphalt” stenciled on the side and started driving it to school daily. It was a rough looking truck and what I was doing was so far beyond what other kids in the school were doing that I didn’t care. Because I’d driven around in the Yugo for so long, I had the confidence to be what I wanted to be at the private school. When kids and others jeered at me in the 25-year old truck I didn’t care. My ability to deal with sticking out helped me and I had the confidence to end up starting a successful asphalt business which gave me confidence and changed the course of my life. I grew enormously emotionally and financially from this business and it helped me learn to take risks and become the person I am today.
In retrospect, getting a Yugo was the best thing that ever happened to me in numerous, numerous ways. I am eternally grateful to my mother for this.
At the times we are suffering, or at the time we are feeling inferior and making contrasts with others and/or this or that, however, we frequently feel horrible. We are depressed and feel a sense of lack. This sense of lack is often the very last thing we should be feeling. Our mind is a game and it is always evaluating things.
More than two thirds of the world currently lives on less than $2.00 a day. For most of us, our worst nightmare would represent the greatest dream of most of the people in the world.
When you go into most villages in the world, there is no running water. There is no heat or air conditioning. There is very little variety with the food. There are almost always chicken and other wild animals running around. There is no sophisticated work available and there is very little education. Most people are born into the same village and conditions they die in. Regardless of your current situation, the chances are extremely good that most of the world is living in a much different state than you. You have more money, material possessions, and opportunities than most people could ever hope for.
Everything is about contrasts. If you contrast the conditions that most of the world lives in, and the conditions you live in, you have so many reasons to feel grateful. If you contrast the positions of the most successful people around you, the highest achievers around you, and others and believe that your self-worth is related to your particular level of achievement, you may feel a sense of lack. One of the things that typically causes us the greatest sense of lack is turning on the television. There we see people who are better than us in one way or another or living lives we would like to live. This sense of lack creates unhappiness in numerous people.
Most people in the world are constantly wanting and feeling a tremendous sense of lack in their body, mind, and spirit which comes out of their comparison to something else. They want to be something else and something they are not and until they are that something else they are never happy. We feel that there is something more we should have, someone better than us we should be like, something more we should be doing. It’s for this reason that many of us are incredibly unhappy.
When the conditions in your life don’t match your blueprint of how you think things should be for you, you are going to be unhappy. However, most of us are also taught that we should do, be, and act a certain way. We are also inculcated with the idea that we should always be first in this or that. More Secure. Happier. Wealthier. Due to our constant sense of lack, our blueprint of the world is typically not as we would like it to be. Instead of feeling good about ourselves, we feel something else. When your core expectations don’t match how you think your life should be, you are often very unhappy.
One of the hardest facts for most of us to realize and come to terms with is that there is a tremendous amount of inequality out there and will always be. In fact, whatever it is we dream for our life–whether it is a better relationship, a better job, more money, more security, better work, more free time, better benefits–you name it–there is always going to be someone out there that has a much, much better deal than one of us in one of these categories.
Our minds are structured in such a way that we are always comparing and contrasting ourselves with what we believe is some sort of “ideal” in one category or another. Assuming we reach that ideal, we then seek for yet another person, place, or thing to compare ourselves with. This exercise ends up creating even more insecurity that what we have isn’t enough and the process repeats itself over and over again. There’s a constant process that occurs of comparing and contrasting our life conditions with the lives of others that results in our unhappiness.
All around us there is tremendous and permanent inequality between people, places, and things. The universe is simply ordered in such a way that there is always going to be a tremendous amount of inequality. We cannot change the inequality and it’s always there no matter what we do. There is always going to be inequality and the sense of lack that we have in relation to the world.
Instead of accepting this inequality, we are always fighting the inequalities and spending incredible amounts of energy trying to change what is, into something different. We resist the natural order of inequality, and in so doing, we end up punishing ourselves with a massive amount of unhappiness and sense of lack. If the mouse sat around all day thinking it wasn’t as big as the cat, it would continually be feeling bad about itself. No matter what the mouse does, it will never be able to be as strong and as big as the cat. The same thing goes for that cat and the dog. Everything in the world has been ordered to be unequal and, for the most part, none of this can be changed.
When you accept that there is a natural of order of things and the inequality that exists out there, you stop suffering and can put the energy you put into suffering into something else (like the task before you). Accept inequality and move forward in the world with an awareness of it and that it’s simply part of the natural order of things.
The universe is structured to have inequalities, and it’s important for you to accept them where most people resist or fight against them. Fighting against inequalities only wastes energy and causes unnecessary stress that you could channel into something more productive. Accept the world’s inequalities and experience them for what they are, and you will free yourself to live the life you choose.