‘It’s not fair’ we cry whenever things turn out other than we’d hoped, or more precisely, when things turn out against us.

And it’s perfectly true.

Life on Earth* is the miraculous outcome of a series of improbable collisions of asteroids and continents and atoms that somehow produced a molecule that could copy itself just well enough to mutate and evolve and adapt. Copies that adapt quickly survive and the ones that don’t… don’t.

That’s the way things happen on this planet.

Fair doesn’t come into it; that was a purely human invention.

But somehow we got it into our heads that a Cosmic Scale of Justice corrects all the imbalances and imperfections in Life so that, given enough time, the good guys will win.

And sure, sometimes they do. But sometimes they don’t.

Life is neither fair or unfair.

Truth is, the Universe is completely ambivalent about who wins what, so our habit of expecting fairness only distorts our understanding of whatever we’re dealing with. It guarantees bitter disappointment as it raises a hope that will always, ultimately, turn out to be false. But worst of all, waiting for Life to restore justice diverts us from our own responsibilities to make things right.

So why not just be grateful for what we have, gracious about what we don’t and generous with everyone else?

Because even if you win some, you won’t win ‘em all.

That wouldn’t be fair, would it?


*Some scientists think there may be life on Mars. But none expect it to be fair.

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Written by Jason Clarke

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Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason is none of these things. He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country. As founder of Minds at Work, he’s helped people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.