4 of Life’s Questions, Whose Answers can be Found in the Mirror

Ever been asked, “If you could trade lives with one person, who would it be?” I know we all have an answer to that question, but the truth is you CAN’T trade lives, nor should you really want to. It should be more of a “that would be nice” thing, not a real desire.

See today we are constantly told that if you don’t like your life then complain about it. Blame racism, the government, your environment, your genes, God. or one of the million other useless excuses we are told to use. While those are genuine obstacles many people must overcome, they are not impossible problems that excuse you from personal responsibility.

1) “Why me?”

Also known as: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “Why do I have it so much worse than everyone else?”

Why not you? Seriously, why not? Think about it for a minute. This is not to say you especially deserve bad things and not good things, just to make you think, “what makes me better than the next person?” We all know we love it when our friends complain about every “bad” thing in their life (of course we do!), meanwhile that friend is acting like everyone else in the world would be more deserving of this than them (yes even you, who are so politely listening to their compaints).

You are probably thinking of someone right now that does this all the time. Life is one big pity party to them. Maybe you should set them straight. Before you do though, set yourself straight. See, we all do it at times. We complain instead of fix, sleep instead of work, and blow our “bad” circumstances out of proportion. The fact is that whatever is happening to you, or in your life, it IS happening. Asking questions, feeling sorry for yourself, or just plain lying to yourself by saying you have it SO much worse than everyone else; does not help.

But hey, you know that right? You know that having a bad day, week, or even month doesn’t make you chief sufferer of the universe (cool title though). The key is to realize that doing all this shuts off any chance you have of coming up with a solution, while also killing all your motivation to do anything useful. This in turn works into a vicious cycle of dependence upon anything other than yourself and God.

2)” Why don’t I a make enough money?”

Also known as: Why don’t I get a raise? Why do I have to work so hard for no money while all those rich people do nothing and make all the money?

Be truthful about your income. Everyone wants more money, but what are you doing to deserve more? Seriously. That’s the hard thing about being honest with yourself, admitting your shortcomings. How many times at work do you goof off and waste time. Are you dishonest there? I understand not all bosses and business owners are nice or fair. Your life isn’t a movie however, and most business owners and managers didn’t get to where they are by hurting those who help their company. So are you helping?

That brings us to where are you working? Of couse, today we need to ask are you working? You may be the hardest working employee McDonald’s has ever seen, but how far can you go there? You may be great at blowing up computer animated models in Call of Duty, but the pay isn’t very good (and mom/grandma won’t be around forever). Not being honest about where the industry you are in is heading is only funny on “the Office” in real life it only ends in pain.

First, ask yourself are you at a place where you can move up and fullfil your needs/goals? If you are, understand that you are very fortunate and blessed. Treat it as such. If you don’t get recognized by your boss, their competition might. If you aren’t sure if you can move up, ask someone. That shows initiative, and if backed with action, typically leads to better things. If you aren’t in a place that is, or can be, good for you; look elsewhere. Open your mind up to other fields. We live in America, and even in a recession, you can succeed here.

3. “Why does everyone else seem to know the answers, and I am stuck on the outside looking in?”

Also known as:Why aren’t I as smart as them?” Or “I wish I was born with all their advantages, then I would know how to win at life too.”

Let’s start at the truth. No one has all the answers to everything, and no one is an expert at everything. A lot of people hate Donald Trump (me, I just can’t stand his hair). Guess what? He doesn’t care, mostly because he knows how to get what he wants in life. Like it or not he knows business. Want to know something else? Somewhere there is a 25 year old man that knows WAY more about World of Warcraft (or any video game) than he does. There are also a couple thousand women who have studied fashion tips from MTV shows and know how to dress up in “hip” ways better than he does. Yeah, he doesn’t care about that either. Neither do you.

So what’s the point? Simple, everyone is an expert at something. It’s just what do you consider important enough to learn and master. People who start a business have decided to learn it and master it. The same with a good auto mechanic, or my daughter with Blues Clues songs. Again the answer to your question is you. The reason you can’t find success is that you haven’t actually tried to find what it takes to succeed in your chosen endeavor. Many people fool themselves about what they consider useful knowledge. Really how will it help you to have memorized all the top ten American Idol contestests in order of appearance?

If you need further knowledge, get it! Don’t use the excuse that you don’t have money/time to go to college. You can learn almost anything online these days. Use that to start teaching yourself new things. Save money, or make money and go to school. Go to the library (that’s the place with free internet you can only use for an hour at a time. Look around, there are books there). Understand that you can learn almost anything if you put your mind to it. Once you learn it, apply it and over time you will be a master.

4. “Why won’t he/she just fix themselves so our relationship would be better?”

Also known as: “Why did he/she leave me?” or “What is wrong with him/her?”

Okay here’s a tough one. There are many times when relationships fall apart and it’s not you. Here’s the big secret though, YOU can’t change the other person. The only thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and move on. Most of the time however, there is still hope for a relationship and that responsibility falls upon whoever is reading this. It means being real about how our relationships go; both with friends and significant others. Don’t blame you spouse for everything that is wrong in your relationship. It takes two people to make bad decisions.

How many women get there hearts broken by man after man, while there guy friends say “I can’t believe she fell for that again.”

How many men have bragged about how easy it was for them to sleep with a woman only to run crying to a beer when she cheats on them with their “best friend”?

Learn from, and don’t repeat, your mistakes, but that is for another article. What about serious relationships and marriages? I have heard (and said) too many times “He/she just doesn’t want this to work, all they do is hurt me!” Wake up, you are probably doing the same to them. It’s amazing when you turn your brain from “worrying about whether/when the other person is going to change”; to “how can I serve them”? Your brain isn’t meant to be used to worry, obsess, and keep score. It is meant to take action and solve things. Change you, and then see how that affects your partner.

There are hundreds of stories out there of people who have risen above their circumstances. Now, I know you can say that there are many, many stories of those who didn’t as well. Here is the point though, are the people who overcame just better than those that didn’t? Of course not! Be honest. Those of you who advocate people to use excuses are in reality saying that those people can’t do it on their own. That they aren’t good enough without something to make it easier. That is garbage. People who “make it” are not better or had no obstacles. They put a lot of hard work in and took responsibility for their own lives.

Now I am not saying that we shouldn’t help people that are wanting to help themselves, nor am I saying we shouldn’t help the helpless. The truth is that we should encourage folks taking personal responsibility for their own lives and the consequences of their choices. Think on this, if a person worked hard at their job and got a promotion and gave credit for that promotion on race or some other thing, they gain nothing. The same is true when someone doesn’t work hard and gets fired, but blames their employer. We have to reteach ourselves that we are ultimately responsible for our future and it hinges upon the decisions we make everyday.

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About Erik Pullum

Married and parent to three wonderful children. I believe that Christianity is a lifestyle that you are supposed to live everyday, not just when it is convenient.
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