Two Mindsets That Will Guarantee Failure in Everything You Do

by Alexander Heyne · 7 comments

I recently noticed this trend in a massive percentage of people I talk to on a daily basis. It’s something that will almost *guarantee* failure or at least sub-par performance in everything you do, and it’s ubiquitous among 20 somethings.

Can you guess?

It’s actually a set of false beliefs — the first is the concept of fairness. And the second is feeling that you deserve something because you’re special/attractive/smart/gifted.

Both are poison, both are untrue, and both will doom the vast majority of us to failure in every single thing we attempt. Here’s why.

“That’s not fair!”

When I was a kid, I freeaaaaaking hated being told “Because I told you so!” by my parents. It was never good enough.  What the hell does that mean? Because you told me so? It was as if they thought they were dishing out the word of god.

Teachers would often do the same thing, and I constantly viewed it as the ultimate cop out. If you didn’t know your shit, you just say “because I told you so.” I figured life should be “fair,” that there was a sense of duty and honor and chivalry that permeated the real world.

The problem was that later I realized this to be untrue. In nature there is no concept of fairness. It’s a concept made up by humans with logical minds who want everything to be neat and ordered, who want to believe that because “they’re good people” good shit will happen to them.


3 Facts about “Fairness” in Life:

  1. There is no concept of “Fairness” in the universe (in other words, it’s all in your head)
  2. Being a good person does not mean money will magically come to you, or health and success will show up at your front door. It also doesn’t mean because you’re good, bad things won’t happen to you.
  3. Life is not unfair. It’s neither fair nor unfair. It doesn’t care what happens.

In nature, fairness doesn’t exist.  If a tiger is hungry, he hunts until he finds food. He doesn’t try to kill a deer, fail, and then sit down and curse the Gods: “You bastard! This is not fair! Send me some goddamn food! I’ve tried 15 times!”  He doesn’t bitch and moan, he doesn’t wonder why the other tiger down the stream catches food swiftly and easily.

He just keeps going until he finds food. He’s lucky that he doesn’t have the “thinking” part of the human brain.

A tiger also doesn’t whine, bitch and moan about people encroaching on his property. When I was in India in 2007 doing research on tigers there were many stories of Indians (including children) venturing into the tiger parks to get more firewood to keep their stoves burning so they could feed their starving families.

Some of the time tigers would chance upon these helpless women and children picking up sticks, mistake them for prey, and kill them (and sometimes eat them).

“It’s not fair!!! These indians are starving to death, and then a tiger eats the mothers of these children! This is a cruel, fucked up world!” you might say.

Remember this truth about the world:

Fairness is a human invention. It does not exist.

Since I’m talking about tigers, did you know that female tigers, once they’ve already given birth, won’t enter estrus (go into heat again) for a while after they’ve recently given birth? So male tigers that are new to the area and want some offspring will kill a female’s previous cubs. Yes, they will walk over to the cubs, crush their skulls, and then in the coming weeks or months mate with the female so he can create his offspring.

Is that fair? No. Is it fucked up? Hell yeah.

The “fairness” mindset is often found in:

  • Whiners
  • People who didn’t make the cut
  • “Nice guys”
  • Spiritual people who think that their “good karma” will get them farther in their life
  • People who aren’t willing to do the work and are waiting for the stars to align

Notice that I didn’t mention anything about circumstances. Some people in the most horrid circumstances understand that life is not fair — that by being a good person, they won’t necessarilly acquire massive wealth or happiness due to their “karma.”

And they will work and hustle and do what it takes to improve their situation for their life and for their family. And they will succeed. Regardless of the circumstances.

You see, fairness doesn’t help you get anywhere in life. My point is not to stop bitching and whining about life. My point is that once you remove fairness from your vocabulary, every facet of your life magically improves.

“I deserve a break! I deserve a raise! I deserve a perfect boyfriend!”

The second “false” mindset comes from feeling like you deserve something. Feelings of “deservedness” originate in the assumption that you’re special, gifted, and you should be given things with no work. It assumes that because you’re such a damn evolved good guy, the world should line up and bow down before you.


Feelings of deservedness are closely tied to fairness — because if you believe that the world is fair and just, you likely also believe that the the good are rewarded and the bad are punished.

Truth: You don’t deserve shit.

This has become an almost epidemic in 20 somethings – a demographic that was born and raised being told we’re special, we’re high achievers, we’ll go on to do great things and that our college degrees are worth something.

We suddenly assume that we deserve $35 an hour and 12 concubines in our entry-level job. It’s bad. I’ve been there. Not the concubines. Making $12/hour and thinking you deserve $35.

The real statement is not “I deserve…” but the question: “What can I do so that I can get ____ result?”

You see, feeling like you deserve things originates in slacking.  Many smart kids turn out to be slackers or drug addicts. School and life is too easy for them so they stop putting in effort. They don’t care about doing any work. It was all easy up until a certain point.

I have a friend that got a 1570/1600 on the SAT’s because he forgot his calculator. He thought it was a joke so he didn’t even bother bringing a calculator for the 1600. He also failed out of school and is a total waste of life now.  When everyone tells you you’re smart or special, you get messed up in the head.

Just look at Steve Jobs — he was massively successful but a huge asshole his entire life.

You know what I chalk it up to? His parents telling he was super smart and unique.  He remembered it for the rest of his life.

When you feel like you deserve things you have a bias for inaction. You wait for the goodies to come to you. You feel powerless but are totally confident in the “fact” that “the universe will provide for you.”

But when you understand your role in the world – nothing is promised, except that which you work for, cultivate and develop, you suddenly feel empowered. You are in control. You take action.

And if you ask me, there is nothing more powerful than feeling like you create your own destiny.

Fairness and deservedness are human created mindsets that poison us and color our view of reality.  The sooner you rid yourself of them, the sooner you can see the truth surrounding life. And in life, nothing is promised. That might be the most beautiful reminder that it’s time for you to start hauling ass and create something you love.



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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

David Delp January 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Anytime someone has told me, “Well you deserve that, don’t you,” I’m baffled. I don’t have a location in my brain for how that word applies except at an emotional expression, like want. Replace it with, “Well you want that don’t you,” or “I really want you to have that to make my world make more sense.”

In contrast, I think Steve Jobs and other narcissists have a deeply motivating shame-righteousness split that manifests as deserving everything they demand. It’s what drives the skilled ones to success. Like you, I don’t recommend it.

Fairness I strongly argue is a necessary quality of a healthy society. I agree that dwelling on personal injustices is probably not very motivating, but let’s not mistake the basic requirement that we understand and study fairness on all levels, especially on the personal level. If we don’t know what isn’t fair, how will we ever do something for our invention of what we consider “the greater good?”


Alexander Heyne January 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Hey David —

Haha yeah Jobs and others I’m sure have a heavy dose of narcissism thrown in there. But specifically in relation to 20 somethings I’ve noticed that it leads to a lot of unhappiness, which is why I recommended keeping it in check

I agree that fairness is important in society — that’s another discussion for another time — but to plan on life being fair for people is a great way to end up feeling cheated your entire life. What comes to mind is some of my relatives who are spiritually inclined and believe the universe will provide if they are merely decent human beings.


David Delp January 13, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Oh, I’m totally with you on both of these. Life isn’t fair. People can be. So hang out with people who treat people with fairness, and you’re more likely to be happier. And I agree, don’t expect life itself to be anything other than mysterious. Fairness doesn’t seem to factor in at all.

Your relatives sound like many of my dear friends. The ones that chased me away from mamby pamby “spirituality.” I’m looking for a better way back. Let me know if you find one. -David

Karen J January 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm

My understanding of “the Universe is on my side” is that IF I actually *do* something (change my self-talk language; deliver more job apps; sort one pile of clutter; something!) that moves me in the direction of what I want, instead of just “thinking about it”, opportunities *will* materialize.

(Must. Keep. Remembering. This.)


Alexander Heyne January 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Exactly Karen ;)

Took me a long time to realize this unfortunately. I was a pretty “spiritual” kid and had a lot of limiting beliefs holding me back.. The universe only gotcha back when you start !


efe March 21, 2016 at 6:39 am

“You don’t deserve shit.” Very true! I found your blog from Richard’s blog. Great content.


Alexander Heyne March 21, 2016 at 11:36 am

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