This Simple Quote Sums Up Why Most People Fail At Life

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hopeless man with hand on head

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed lately, it’s how many people seem to be totally resigned to their lives.

To be fair, we’re in a period of history where learned helplessness and hopelessness seem to be the general vibe of the people.

I can’t honestly blame them.

In some cases, it’s because of how their dating life is going — one too many rejections, one too many times being ghosted, maybe one too many remarks about a person’s weight or one too many reads about how people want anyone but you.

In other situations, it’s the economy. And once again, that’s also a legitimate issue.

We have a bunch of billionaires and corporations bilking the American people out of a living wage while they raise the cost of everything. Oh, and they also pay less taxes. Talk about the odds being stacked against us, right?

RELATED: How To Become A Better Person & Take On More Responsibility In Your Life

Yes, times are hard for all of us, but that doesn’t mean it has to be this way.

I’m going to get a bit zen with things right now. I’ll tell you a little secret: I was born with a very bad hand of cards when it comes to social skills, neglect, and also having the right "gear" to be popular in school. It’s true.

And you know what? The crappy hands just kept coming.

I was only liked when I provided sex. No one wanted to get to know me. I lashed out in weird ways, including purposefully annoying people because any attention was better than none.

But, as I got older, I realized something.

Yes, I absolutely could just take the cards I was handed, lay down, accept defeat, and feel like no one would ever love me. I could have easily just gone to New York and laid down on the third subway rail. No one would have blamed me for doing so.

I had every right to be angry, upset, depressed, and suicidal over things. The people who were supposed to be in my corner were never there. This was not my fault. I was asking for help.

I let out a desperate cry for help — help everyone seemed gleeful about withholding from me.

Doctors refused to sterilize me. My family berated me over my friends and lifestyle. I was not allowed, by anyone’s rule, to just be me and live my life as I wanted to.

I had no emotional safety, no support network, no sense of ownership over my own body, and no help with any career I actually wanted. And everyone around me f***ing loved it that way.

But while this was not my fault, the way I reacted to things was my responsibility.

We are all dealt bad hands in life, some more than others. Some of us cannot walk. Others are diabetic. Some are bipolar. Others are homely as an old tire.

It sucks, and we live in a society where using those hurdles can be a very socially acceptable reason not to better your life.

Unfortunately, while it may be okay in society to say you’re stuck and doomed to fail, it doesn’t do anything good for you. In fact, it actively lets you become complacent. In some cases, it can also be a driving factor that leads you to hate others, causing you to slide into a vicious cycle you can’t escape.

Your main goals in life should be to improve your quality of life, the quality of the people around you, and most importantly, improve yourself. That’s your responsibility.

More importantly, it’s your responsibility regardless of what cards you’re dealt.

If you’re stuck blaming everyone else for your shortcomings, you’re going to be in a nursing home, looking back at everything, realizing you wasted your life.

In life, you’re going to be in control of your actions and yours alone.

Your job is to do what you can to bolster your quality of life and to improve yourself until you become the person you wish you’d be. How other people react is on them.

What does this mean?

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Here are 10 ways to take control of your actions and improve your quality of life: 

1. If you decide that you’re giving up on any endeavor, that’s on you

No one can make you successful if you’re not putting in the effort. And if you’re not putting in hours, people will notice that and will not want to extend offers to you.

Only quit a goal if you’re sure you don’t want it in your life.

2. People who tear you down or impede your growth are going to happen

What they do reflects on them, not you. It’s not your fault.

Your responsibility is to defend yourself from these people and to protect your interests to the fullest extent of the law. That’s why knowing your rights is so important.

3. Other people’s inconveniences are not your emergency

Oh, your goals don’t follow their expectations? Too bad. Not your problem.

Focus on what you want, not what others want you to do. If they can’t handle it, then you have the right to block them out of your life.

4. Bad behavior gets bad results

Whether it’s the guy who lashes out at the girl who rejected him or the coworker who steals from the till doesn’t matter.

What matters is that bad behavior will catch up with you 9 times out of 10. When it does, it’s on you and people are probably not going to care about why you did it.

5. Bad beliefs get bad results

We’ve all heard of people who advocated against social services or were anti-rights until they needed those rights.

In life, bad assumptions or beliefs have a way of blowing up in our faces.

Don’t wait until you’ve been humbled to protect the rights of others and make society better.

6. You might not get what you put in, but you are far more likely to get something than nothing

I’ll be honest. I did not get a hundredth of the effort that I put in with most men back to me. I also don’t get much back from all the applications I put into jobs. But, once in a while, I’ll strike gold.

If I didn’t put in all that effort to find golden jobs and a spouse, I wouldn’t make enough to live on my own and I would not be married.

7. Even if you are rich, you should expect to face consequences for your actions

Even politicians get held accountable and lose face when caught in a scandal. 

At the very least, you want to be the person who people look back and think, "You know, he/she/they made it despite the odds. I liked them."

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8. Don’t be the fool who refuses help, but don’t expect people to save you

It’s true. A large portion of the world seems to be gleeful when people aren’t doing as well as them.

I searched for ages for a guy who just wanted a housewife, who wanted to save me from my s***ty time being homeless.

No one wanted me until I saved myself. It’s food for thought.

9. When in doubt, improve yourself

This never ever hurts.

10. If you don’t do anything to better yourself or your life, your life will get worse and worse 

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed about my life: every time I stopped doing self-care or stopped trying to better myself, my life would go into decay.

This isn’t just a "me" thing. It happens with everything that needs maintenance — relationships, careers, money.

When you stop doing things that improve your life, the good things will start to vanish.

The biggest adversary you’ll ever have in life is you.

I remember a quote by Anthony Bourdain quote that sums this up pretty well: "I understand there’s a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed, smoke weed all day, and watch cartoons and old movies. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid, and outwit, that guy."

It’s hard to pull yourself out of that mentality. It’s super hard to stay out of it too, especially when you just want to laze about or feel sorry for yourself. Life is not a pity party.

Take a look at the cover of People and take note. No one who hits the red carpet has the luxury of wallowing around and playing Elden Rings or whatever it’s called.

Why? Because they are the people who get up, position themselves a certain way, and do what they can to avoid being the person who blames the world for their failings.

It’s not your fault, but dealing with it well is your responsibility.

So yeah. It’s not your fault that you were born with a bad hand. It’s really not. But it is your fault if you let it define you.

The only person who has the right to define you is you.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others. 

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.