Home > 7 habits, Leadership > Why me? or Why Me!

Why me? or Why Me!

I can’t say that I’m a big fan of Sammy Davis Junior but he’s the man behind the statement above. When he was young, he felt Why Me? and thought about that he was short, kind of ugly, one eyed and a jew. He was concentrating on why he had all these negatives. In other words, why was he a victim?

Later on, he became really successful, and the statement stood but with a different focus – Why Me! How come that he could become so successful?

One of my first blog posts discussed Aron Ralston and Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Dedicated climber and adventure skier Aron Ralston fell during a climb and got stuck between a rock and the rock wall. He also asked “Why did this happen to me” but he soon realized that the question was why it hadn’t happened earlier. And then he realized that he could do nothing about what had happened. Now he was there and he wanted to survive.


Self portrait of Aron of his actual situation when he was stuck. (source healthline.com)

Both Sammy Davis and Aron Ralston was in situations less than ideal. But there they were. But they both decided to do what they could. In the case of Sammy Davis he used his looks to create a new and different type of performer. Aron Ralston cut of his hand to break free.

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist who survived the holocaust. In his Man’s searching for Meaning, he states what made him survive was that he accepted what he couldn’t do anything about how he was treated but he could do something about what he did and what he thought about. While they without any pain killers operated on him as a part of a medical test, he thought about how he would talk in front of students about this experience.

We always find ourselves in these “why me???” situations. In some cases, we are born into them, they just happen, etc. In other cases, we ourselves place us there. And in some cases, someone else puts us there.

Habit 1 of The Seven Habits takes focus on these situations. And the key value is to try to do something about what you can do something about and accept what you cannot do anything about. It’s about being pro active and take responsibility.

What does it matter if you’re genetically predisposed to becoming obese? Even if so, you can do nothing about that but what you can do something about is what and how you eat and exercise. Whining about genes doesn’t help you, does it?

What can you do about your boss being a complete idiot? Will he become smarter of you complaining about it? You can choose to live with that, try to lessen the effects of it or find yourself another job.

In many cases we just stop here, whine about stuff we cannot do anything about. Ralston tried moving the huge block of rock. But he couldn’t so he affected what he could affect. How much time do you spend on trying to move those huge blocks of stone?

That does not mean that doing what you can is not painful? All these stories are filled with pain but the question you need to answer yourself is – what can you live with?

I took a CPR training this Thursday and people were worried about hurting the person in question. And the trainer, having seen some of the worst scenes imaginable responded: We pick life over injury.

We sometime don’t pick the situations we’re in but we’re better off trying to do what we can about the future and if we see ourselves in control of what we can control.

Categories: 7 habits, Leadership
  1. 2009/09/26 at 8:19 am

    Excellent post. Of course, this is basically common sense, but I hope a few people will be enlightened. The lesson as I interpret it is: don’t whine because life doesn’t always go your way; pick the best path for yourself because nobody is going to do it for you.

  2. Anna Forss
    2009/09/26 at 8:53 am

    That is very true, Wilhelm. Things don’t improve if you try to change what you cannot change and if you don’t change what you can change. Yes, it’s common sense but it’s hard to live by in reality. How often don’t we complain about someone else and what they do or don’t do? That’s so much easier than doing what we can instead.

    7 habits is so much about common sense but realizing that it’s living by the common sense and after these three days of training, I’ve learned so much more from personal insight, discussions with others than actual reading. Now, there will be 7 weeks of reflection before the next classes.

  1. 2009/09/26 at 7:35 am

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