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Life Isn’t Fair Deal With It Commonlit Answers

  • 9th Grade
  • Lexile: 1100

Source: Life Isn’t Fair – Deal With It by Mike Myatt

Assessment Answers

PART A: Which of the following best describes the tone of the article?sympathetic and firm
PART B: Which of the following quotes best supports the answer to Part A?“I don’t dispute that challenges exist. I don’t even dispute that many have an uphill battle due to the severity of the challenges they face.” (Paragraph 5)
Which of the following statements best describes a central idea of the text?Fairness is a subjective idea and is not a natural characteristic of life.
What is the author’s most likely purpose for writing this article?The author argues for an end to the fairness mindset because it hinders hard work and leads to an unhealthy sense of entitlement.

What does the author mean by the following quote from paragraph 7, and how does it develop the central ideas of the article ?: “When leaders attempt to navigate the slippery slope of fairness, they will find themselves arbiter of public opinion and hostage to the politically correct”.

The quote “When leaders attempt to navigate the slippery slope of fairness, they will find themselves arbiter of public opinion and hostage to the politically correct” from paragraph 7 suggests that when leaders (whether in business, government, or any other domain) try to enforce or prioritize fairness as a guiding principle, they risk becoming overly influenced or constrained by public opinion and the demands of political correctness.

This, in turn, can lead them away from making decisions based on what is most effective, right, or necessary, and towards decisions that are popular or non-offensive.

This quote develops the central ideas of the article by reinforcing the notion that fairness is a subjective and potentially problematic concept to enforce uniformly. It suggests that an overemphasis on fairness can lead to decisions and policies that prioritize appearances or the appeasement of certain groups over substantive actions that could lead to better outcomes for all.

This connects to the broader argument of the article that focusing on personal responsibility and overcoming challenges is more productive than relying on an abstract notion of fairness that can never be perfectly achieved.

The author uses this point to critique the fairness mindset, arguing that it can stifle initiative, creativity, and true leadership, and foster an environment where mediocrity is tolerated or even encouraged, as long as it is deemed ‘fair’.

This idea supports the article’s central message that life is inherently unfair and that individuals and leaders alike should focus on contribution and improvement rather than an elusive and potentially counterproductive quest for fairness.

Discussion Answers

Do you agree or disagree with the statement, “If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them”? What would be the counterargument to this assertion?

The statement “If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them” emphasizes personal responsibility and the importance of accountability for one’s actions.

Agreeing with this statement can be grounded in the belief that individuals become the primary architects of their own lives as they mature. This perspective encourages personal growth and resilience, suggesting that learning from mistakes is a vital part of developing autonomy and self-reliance.

Supporting arguments might include:

  • Personal responsibility is crucial for individual development and societal functioning.
  • Blaming others, including parents, for personal failures prevents individuals from learning and growing from their experiences.
  • Recognizing and owning one’s mistakes is a key step in the process of personal improvement and problem-solving.


While the assertion promotes taking responsibility for one’s actions, a counterargument could highlight the complexity of human development and the significant influence of upbringing, environment, and socioeconomic factors on an individual’s behavior and decision-making processes.

Possible counterarguments might be:

  • Parents and the environment they provide play a crucial role in shaping an individual’s values, decision-making skills, and behaviors. If these foundational aspects are lacking or flawed, it can limit an individual’s ability to make sound decisions.
  • External factors such as social pressures, economic circumstances, and educational opportunities significantly impact an individual’s choices and mistakes. These factors are often beyond one’s control, especially in younger years.
  • The statement oversimplifies the complexity of human behavior and the multifaceted reasons behind personal mistakes, ignoring the psychological, social, and economic contexts that influence decisions.

While it’s beneficial to encourage individuals to take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes, it’s also important to recognize the broader context of individual development.

Understanding the balance between personal responsibility and external influences is key to fostering a more nuanced approach to personal growth and societal support structures.

The author believes that the concept of “fairness” is not a useful term, and that it makes people feel entitled to good outcomes. Make an argument for the opposite-how would you convince someone that the concept of “fairness” is an important one.

Arguing for the importance of the concept of fairness involves highlighting its foundational role in justice, equality, and societal cohesion.

Here are several arguments that support the significance of fairness:

Fairness as a Pillar of Justice

  • Moral and Ethical Foundation: Fairness is a cornerstone of ethical behavior and moral reasoning. It guides individuals and societies in making decisions that respect the rights and dignity of all people. By promoting fairness, we foster an environment where everyone is treated with respect and equality.
  • Legal Equity: In the context of law and governance, fairness is crucial for ensuring that justice is impartial and equitable. It underpins the belief that similar cases should be treated similarly, ensuring that no individual or group is unduly favored or discriminated against.

Fairness in Promoting Equality and Preventing Discrimination

  • Equality of Opportunity: Fairness is essential for creating equal opportunities for all, regardless of their background, identity, or socioeconomic status. By striving for fairness, society can work towards eliminating systemic barriers and biases that prevent individuals from achieving their potential.
  • Countering Discrimination: The concept of fairness is integral to efforts to combat discrimination and inequality. It demands that individuals are not judged or limited by prejudices or stereotypes, promoting a more inclusive and diverse society.

Fairness as a Basis for Social Harmony and Trust

  • Social Cohesion: Fairness contributes to social cohesion by ensuring that all members of society feel valued and respected. When people believe that they are part of a fair system, they are more likely to contribute positively and cooperate with others.
  • Trust in Institutions: The perception of fairness in governmental and institutional actions is critical for maintaining public trust. When decisions are made fairly, and processes are transparent and equitable, it reinforces confidence in those institutions, promoting stability and order.

Fairness and the Greater Good

  • Encouraging Meritocracy: Fairness in assessment and reward systems ensures that merit and effort are recognized and rewarded, encouraging individuals to strive for excellence and contribute their best to society.
  • Long-Term Societal Benefits: A fair society is more likely to be a stable and prosperous one. Fairness in distributing resources, opportunities, and responsibilities can lead to better overall outcomes for society, including lower crime rates, higher levels of education, and greater economic productivity.

While the concept of fairness may sometimes be perceived as fostering a sense of entitlement, its importance in creating a just, equal, and cohesive society cannot be overstated.

Fairness is not about guaranteeing equal outcomes for everyone, but about ensuring equal opportunities and treating individuals with impartiality and respect.

By valuing and striving for fairness, we lay the groundwork for a society that respects human dignity and rights, promotes social harmony, and works toward the common good.

Where do you fall in the “life isn’t fair, deal with it” debate? Is this a good or bad way of thinking about your life? Explain your answer.

Arguments for “Life Isn’t Fair, Deal With It” as a Beneficial Mindset

  • Promotes Resilience and Personal Responsibility: This viewpoint encourages individuals to accept the realities of life without being paralyzed by them. It can foster resilience, urging people to focus on their responses to challenges rather than the unfairness of their circumstances.
  • Encourages Problem-Solving and Initiative: By recognizing that life isn’t always fair, individuals might be more inclined to take initiative, seeking solutions and opportunities rather than waiting for external circumstances to change.
  • Realistic Expectation Setting: This mindset can help set realistic expectations, reducing the likelihood of disillusionment when faced with life’s inevitable challenges and inequalities.

Arguments Against “Life Isn’t Fair, Deal With It” as a Detrimental Mindset

  • Potential for Neglecting Social Justice: If taken to an extreme, this attitude might lead some to overlook or dismiss the importance of striving for social justice and equality. It could be used to justify inaction in the face of systemic inequalities that could and should be addressed.
  • Risk of Cynicism: While intended to foster resilience, an overemphasis on life’s unfairness can lead to cynicism, which might deter individuals from pursuing change or improvement, both personally and socially.
  • Undermines Empathy: This perspective might inadvertently undermine empathy by minimizing the struggles others face. It can lead to a lack of support for those who are disproportionately affected by life’s injustices.

Balancing the Perspective

A balanced approach acknowledges the reality that life comes with inherent unfairness while also recognizing the importance of striving for justice, equality, and improvement both at personal and societal levels. This means:

  • Acknowledging Inequities: Recognizing that while individual effort is crucial, systemic inequalities exist and need collective action.
  • Fostering Resilience and Action: Encouraging resilience in the face of life’s challenges while also advocating for and working towards a fairer society.
  • Promoting Empathy and Support: Understanding that everyone’s situation is different, and offering support to those who face greater obstacles due to circumstances beyond their control.

In conclusion, while the “life isn’t fair, deal with it” mindset can promote resilience and personal responsibility, it’s important to balance this with empathy, action towards social justice, and a recognition of systemic inequalities.

This balanced approach can lead to a more nuanced understanding of life’s complexities and the role individuals can play in navigating and improving their own lives and the lives of others.

Other Commonlit Answers

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