I have a friend who can’t hold a job. He’s actually had some great jobs, but he can’t keep them. And for each job he’s lost, he has a story about how bad his boss was, how much they overworked him, how silly their systems were or some similar excuse.
Over time I’ve realized my friend suffers from a victim mentality. I noticed it because I used to have it myself. But in the last few years I’ve realized a victim mentality costs me success, relationships and inner peace.
A victim mentality means we consistently look for reasons life isn’t working out the way we want.
But here’s the reality… Very few things in life work out exactly as we’ve planned. But if we don’t play the victim, very often things turn out great and often they turn out even better than we could have dreamed.
Why do people play the victim? Because playing the victim means they don’t have to try, it means they don’t have to take responsibility, and often it means people will feel sorry for them and give them attention.
But make no mistake, it’s a spiritual cancer that in the long run may cost you everything.
Tim Schurrer, who runs Storyline, plays golf every so often with Olympic Skater Scott Hamilton. Recently while they were golfing, Tim noticed something. When Scott hit a poor shot, he only gave himself five seconds to be frustrated. He had such incredible control over his mind that he refused to dwell on his mistakes or misfortune. He’d likely learned this from all those years of training, where falling on the ice in competition means you have to recover physically and mentally at light speed. If you don’t you’ll never beat your competition.
What Scott does, as a knee-jerk reaction, is to make a quick list of why the bad thing that happened could actually be good. Missing a shot means he learns something about his swing. Missing a shot is humbling, so he isn’t tempted to get arrogant. Missing a shot means he gets to teach the people around him how to keep a disciplined mind. In seeing the world this way, Scott continues to get better and better. It’s the mentality of a champion.