Fairness is one of the most interesting thoughts, and it seems to be one of the primary causes of drama I think. I have in other writings or videos talked about how we create lower standards by seeking fairness, and how the chase to make things fair, sometimes leads us astray.
This time I want to just talk about fairness. Most of the time I think, fairness pops up as a lack of fairness rather than a sense of fairness, and when this happens, the most common reaction to the lack is to fall into victim thinking about how its “not fair” and how it should not be that someone else, has what we so obviously should also have, or have instead of…
This is a particularly dangerous road to go down because once a person decides that they are helpless to obtain what it is that they want, they will instead follow one of two or more darker paths. Obviously the healthy and responsible path to follow once a person has determined that one wants a thing, is to just go about getting it. This however seems to be the rarest of paths that we take. Instead, we follow a darker path, and I list two, because they are at the forefront of my mind, but I say two or more, because there almost certainly other paths that have not thought of and do not include here, but we should not overlook them if they become apparent.
The first of the darker paths is to seek fairness by reducing what we bring to the table. Say for example that we are talking about an employee feeling taken advantage of, because the employee is not paid what he or she believes him or herself to be worth.
This is a very common thought pattern and to list this example I will use information discussed in my video “What needs to be done” For the sake of the example, lets assume that the employee believes that they are worth 10 dollars per hour, but have taken a job for 1 dollar an hour. It may be that they took the job believing this, but just as common is that they took the job feeling fine about it, and then later decided that they were worth more, and slowly they reached the conclusion that they were underpaid by a great deal.
In both cases, the fairness factor kicks in, and the employee, seeking fairness, will intentionally reduce their own effectiveness, in an attempt to create a world where fairness is served. So now, the employee who is being paid 1 dollar an hour begins to perform at a level that is below the expectations of the employer and it is here that the real drama begins.
The employer, noticing that the employee is performing at a lower than expected level, will feel taken advantage of because the implicit contract between parties is that the employee will receive 1 dollar per hour, in return for performing at the expected level and they are not. To correct this, the employer may counsel the employee, reduce his or her wages, or terminate the contract and begin anew. Proving to both parties forever, that each was taken advantage of by the other and fairness was not maintained.
If you look carefully, you will see the lies that each party told themselves. The employee, should seek employment for the amount they feel they are worth, and then perform at the expected level, and the employer, might be better served by seeking to understand the motivations of the employee, and either reassigning them to an area of more value, or creating other forms of motivation that will compensate for the perceived disparity in fairness. In this example however we began with the employee, and so the focus will remain there.
If you are an employee who believes that they are not paid enough for the performance given. Then you should seek employment at those wages or at a package that satisfies the fairness factor – you should never reduce your own effectiveness to create fairness, because following that path creates a world where you become less, and less effective as you go, until you are eventually trapped by your own actions, unable to accomplish much of anything, for anyone, including yourself.
The second of the darker paths, is where we as people will seek to remove the motivating factor from the other person. In this path, we see someone who has what we want, decide that it is not fair for them to have it, and so we go about trying to take it from them, or at the very least make sure that they do not have it.
This is particularly insidious because not only are we still in victim because we believe that we cannot have what we want, but we actively try to undermine, or rob the other of what they legitimately created for themselves (the proof that it is legitimately theirs by the way, is that they have it)
As an example let say that two good friends are working for the same company, and they started at the same time, at the same level of pay etc. Equal in every way, and over time one of the two, is promoted to higher and higher position.
The fairness factor is activated, and the second friend, choosing a dark path, decides that this is not fair, and so goes about destroying the friendship, and undermining the first friend at every turn in an attempt to return him or her to equal status and thereby create fairness.
Can you see how Victim Thinking now costs this friend so much? He or she loses the friendship, loses the promotions that may be possible (because leaders rarely see those that destroy as valuable), and may actually succeed in costing another (probably temporarily), something that they created for themselves by following the right path.
We could go further into this potential for drama if the first friend, having lost the position assumes a position of victim – but that is better covered in another post.
For now, let’s just see these two dark paths, as the wrong choice. We need to know that we can have what we want at any time, just by deciding we want it, and going after it. By keeping an open mind about HOW what we want will come to us, and by diligently chasing after whatever it is, we are sure to succeed.
Fair does not exist – Fair is a construct of the Ego, and it creates victim thinking.
If you want something, go out and get it – it is after all, your responsibility.