True story: A few years back, I received an email from senior management at my job at the time announcing promotions, raises, honourable mentions and so on. These were decided based on the recent performance review exercise. I opened the email and scanned all of the names on the email, feeling somewhat apathetic at that point. The longer I looked, I thought, “it sure is taking long to find my name, but hey, it begins with ‘W’ so it’s probably at the bottom”. But I got to the bottom of the list, and guess what, my name is not there. I scanned it again, because I did need glasses at that point, so maybe I missed it. I read the list again, and no, my eyes did not deceive me. My name was not on the list.

"Hey, come here. Do you see my name on the list for promotions? Maybe I missed it "

It was at that point that my initial apathy transformed to scorn, disbelief and disagreement. Below are just some of the thoughts that went through my mind as I scanned the list at least five more times:

“SHE got promoted?!?”

“What did HE do to be promoted??”

“I always knew she was one of the FAVORITES”

“How did {insert random name here} come here AFTER ME and already got promoted?!?”

“See, I knew {insert another random name} DIDN’T LIKE ME. Now I’m sure”

“Man, they don’t want me to be great!”

I found every reason to justify my name not being on the list. After about ten minutes of stewing on the perceived injustice that I had endured, I decided I had enough and needed to go to lunch. So, at 11:30 am, only about thirty minutes after having a nice hot cup of green tea, I went to lunch.

Sitting in the restaurant, I continued to build my case against the “corrupt system” I was up against and became more and more furious. I thought I did my job fine, not any worse than anybody else. In fact, I got what I thought were really solid reviews. And I only came late half the time!

So, what the heck was going on? But just as I was about to start round 10 of giving reasons to negate that email again, a still small voice spoke to me. It was weird. I even looked around to see who was hearing my thoughts. The voice said:

“Are you really mad at your boss, or your manager, or your co-workers? Or, are you really mad at yourself for not doing better? Did you really perform as well as you could have? Or, did the result reflect what you ACTUALLY worked for?”

And there I was, at lunch, barely 3 hours into the work day, receiving a harsh reality check from myself. That little voice told me that I could not be angry about the promotion I did not get based on the work I did not do.

The reality is, there are many situations where we don’t get the result(s) we want, but at the same time, we did not put in the effort. We then play the victim, or the blame game. Even if we performed just fine, did we do as much as we could have? Often times our ability betray us, and ‘just fine’ will not cut it because we are capable of so much more. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).

Yes, there is injustice and unfairness, and there are somethings you will not be able to control. These current times have certainly shown us that.

But there are some things you can control. You can control what YOU do. You control how much effort you put into your career, you marriage, your friendships, your skills, your learning, your fight for freedom and equality, your awareness, the development of new skills during the pandemic, that quarantine body..…..If you want the results, put the work in.

But if you choose not to do the work, do not get mad about the results you did not get because of the work you did not do.


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