What is the most recent injustice you feel the universe has dealt you?
I recently listened to the hit podcast series, “S-Town”. The eccentric star, John McLemore, had an obsession with the “Shit Town” where he lived in rural Alabama. He would rant and rave about all the unfortunate circumstances his town had to offer.
The podcast portrays John as a tortured genius filled with boundless energy. Unfortunately, that energy’s singular devotion was to the identification, and subsequent complaining, of the problems and injustices he perceived. Constant complaints, but no action.
My frustration with John built as I kept asking, “You’re so intelligent, why don’t you DO something about these problems!”
Perhaps many of the big issues consuming him were beyond his immediate control and impossible for us to understand, but the complaints I found most frustrating were about his hometown. These are the issues he seemingly could have addressed to better his situation and, ultimately, his happiness.
John isn’t alone in his mindset. The host identifies most of the inhabitants of this small-town in Alabama as having a victim mentality. They are generally quick to point out the many wrongful burdens the world has thrown their way.
Victim mentality is a slippery slope and can take hold of anyone. How many of us have let ourselves succumb to this type of mindset?
It is unfair my parents split up. Why did I have to take on this student debt when others didn’t? If only my boss wasn’t a jerk, I should have got the promotion.
Sound familiar? The list goes on, and I have certainly been guilty of these myself.
Identifying problems is natural, but what do we achieve by highlighting problems without providing solutions? We tend to end up with a short-term ego boost, but long-term misery or frustration.
Yesterday, 9/19/18, Andy Frisella (@andyfrisella) wrote, “While you’re bitching about how unfair life has been to you…other people that come from worse situations than you are CHOOSING to make something out of the opportunity they are CHOOSING to see.”
This message hit home for me, as I have recently witnessed friends and family overcoming enormous challenges. Many of them have been dealt an unfair hand. Rather than complaining, they have embodied strength and CHOOSE to overcome adversity every day.
Think of what we achieve as we shift from a victim mindset to an ownership mindset.
“It is unfair my parents split up“ becomes I wonder what I can do better and what mistakes to avoid to improve my marriage and happiness. Or, “Why did I have to take on this student debt” becomes I made an investment in myself that I will never give up on. “If only my boss wasn’t a jerk, I should have got the promotion” becomes I’ll become so talented they can’t ignore me.
There is nothing more rewarding than seeing people we work with decide they are ready to take control of their situation. Vanquishing victim mentality and choosing to take the action needed to provide solutions to the problems they face. Recent examples include watching someone carrying student debt begin studying for a designation that will significantly increase their salary, someone looking to trim down join a gym and commit to their health, and most recently seeing someone tighten their belt to increase the savings needed to launch their own business. They are empowering themselves to own their futures and it is a privilege to be a part of their journey.
Do you have problems you have identified that are still lacking solutions? What would it mean for you to overcome them? Empower yourself, find your “drive,” and make it happen! We’re here to help and can’t wait to see you in action.