I find it interesting when people say I’m lucky or that I’ve had it easy…

Just so we know, luck has nothing to do with the life I’ve created or the opportunities that I’ve made for myself over the course of my life.

Sometimes others look at you and the life you have and make assumptions without understanding what you’ve overcome to get to where you are today…

A few years ago, I had an interesting experience and one which highlights my point.  I had pulled up on a side street outside a Starbucks in Toronto.

My friend had nipped inside to pick us up coffees, and while I waited a random guy who’d just come out of the shop and slammed his hand on the bonnet of the car and screamed “you spoiled f.ck.  Did you daddy buy that for you” then stalked off.

Okay, sure I was driving a nice car for which I had worked incredibly hard to buy.

And to say that I was gobsmacked is an understatement of monumental proportions….

Was I upset that he hit my car – absolutely!   But more so that he had no clue as to my life and how I’d built the life that I’d always wanted through focus, perseverance, and hard work?  I was most upset that he’d made such a huge value judgement based on nothing more than what he saw.

The reality is that we can look at anyone in isolation and make judgements about them, and their lives with zero understanding of their past or what it’s taken for them to get where they are today.

It’s easy to make yourself feel better by dismissing someone else’s accomplishments because you believe that it came easy to them…

However, as we all know perceptions can be misleading.

The example I like to use are the influencers we see on Instagram.  Me, like you are in awe of the fantastic locations, perfect bodies, and endless riches that we see…but this isn’t the true reality of the situation – not by a long shot.

Much of what we see is staged for effect with the reality being far less glamorous or lucrative as it’s made out to be.

Burn-out and stress are incredibly high with this group because they’re always trying to out find the next big thing that will capture people’s imagination.  The need to constantly stay relevant without becoming “yesterday’s news” must be exhausting.

Like it not, we’ve all made value judgements in our lives often based on what we see without any further knowledge or input.

The old saying “before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes” is more than true.

What stung with the guy from the coffee shop was his complete lack of understanding of my life to that point.  The struggle out of poverty, leaving home at 17, putting myself through university and crafting a successful life.

There is no question that it’s been fraught with missteps and mistakes along the way – which is normal given that I had little guidance and support.

But as much as these moments were painful, they were that lessons that I learned that have made me stronger and more resilient and have indeed created the foundation for where I am today.

To be clear there were no silver platters…no handouts…nothing except hard work, focus, perseverance along with my instincts to help guide me.

Every person’s life is made up of experiences, challenges, and mindset.  We do ourselves a huge disservice by jumping to conclusions without understanding the person and each of these dimensions.

So instead of making judgements about others, how about we change the game and stay in our own lane and be the best we can be while we help to support those around us.

Whether that’s taking on the role of a cheerleader, confidant, or mentor we can all make a difference in someone else’s life while nurturing our own.

Living your best life on your terms should be what we all strive for, irrespective of what others perceive or think about us.

What I’ve personally found is the more experienced I’ve become, the more I focus on me and what I can control and less about what I’m unable to.

If you’re on the receiving end of inaccurate criticism this can be stinging, especially if you feel it’s unwarranted but it’s our reaction to it that sets us apart…

In most situations I find it not worth my time to try and adjust others’ perceptions…they can think what they like.

I know my story and I’m proud of my life and accomplishments, and don’t feel as though I need to justify or explain it to someone who’s been quick to judge.

Nope…not worth my time because I live life on my terms.

So, what about you?  Do you look at someone else and say “lucky them” or “poor me” rather than take responsibility for where you are in your life?

And more importantly are you willing to do what it takes to move toward living your life on your terms and being less judgemental and more supportive of those around you?

Definitely food for thought…

Until next week