You Aren’t a Victim

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I find it interesting that the once-coveted role of Oscars host (think Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin) is now impossible to fill.   This is because it’s too risky for performers, and none of them has the moral resume required by the intolerant PC police.  Some group somewhere will be offended by any possible candidate.

If you were to sift through every email, every casual remark made to a friend, and examine every activity I engaged in since I was 16, I can assure you that I would be judged entirely unqualified and unfit to be tolerated in polite society.  And this is true of you too, gentle reader.

The path of the wise person is to do and say stupid things, receive feedback, say sorry, grow and move on.

The idea of living in a state of perpetual offense is absurd, unhealthy, and a misdiagnosis of your problems.

Every one of us faces barriers that aren’t our fault.  You’re judged unfairly based on your weight, age, skin colour, gender, intelligence, level of schooling, natural talent, town or country of residence, physical attractiveness (or not), health, mental or physical disabilities, fashion sense, level of wealth, pecking order at work, area of town you live in, car you drive, and on and on and on.  You are constantly being ranked, and are constantly ranking others too.  We look down on people who look down on people.

I recently visited 3 small  villages in northern Guatemala with my family.  The people there have every reason to play the victim card.  Their country has been exploited by multinational corporations, riven by civil war, and they are looked down on by their southern countrymen as being hopeless hics.  Many villagers have been murdered by both sides in the civil war.  Malnutrition has plagued the region for decades.  Many homes (dirt floor huts) have no sewage or running water.

But 2 of these villages engaged in a community plan.  They asked the question, “What can we do in spite of these barriers?”  They ignored their legitimate victim status and started working on themselves.

They dug miles of trench for sewer and water pipe by hand.  They built schools, engaged in savings programs, and developed community gardens to improve nutrition.  They had advice from caring outsiders, but they did the work.   All. By. Themselves.   They were a marvel, and an example to me.

So my question for you today is:  Are you working on what you can control about yourself?  Are you taking full advantage of your opportunities?  Do you face life with a positive attitude?  Do you take your work or school seriously?  Do you fulfill your responsibilities to those you love?

Don’t believe those who urge you to think like a victim.  The more you grant forgiveness and take personal responsibility, the happier and more successful you’ll be.

As Martin Luther said, it’s the content of your character that really counts.

“Blame no one

Expect nothing

Do something”

(sign in the NY Jets locker room)

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Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


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