Admit One . . . Replay

“It’s not fair!”  As a parent there is a certain point in our children’s adolescence when this tends to be their most used phrase.

“It’s not fair, the sports teacher prefers boys and the girls never get top marks!  It’s not fair, I did all the work for the team project and everyone else just loafed.  It’s not fair, all the teachers favor Jack, even though he hardly ever studies and his grades are terrible. I do all my homework and even the extra credit work and the teachers hardly know I exist.  My ears are too big and they make me look ugly.  It’s not fair!”

Well, get ready for the shock of a lifetime. Life is not fair!  There are plenty of times when the bad guy wins, teachers and managers play favorites, good people die young, friends let you down and not everyone is trustworthy. And sometimes, no matter how smart you are or how competent, they give the job to the better looking or better dressed! Life is definitely not fair!

But the good news is, life is an equal opportunity employer.  What I mean by this is everyone must live by the same one great rule of life; rich or poor, genius or average, beautiful or normal, tall or short.  No one escapes the great rule of life.

Okay, so what is the great rule of life.  Simple.

The only guarantee is Admit One, the rest is up to you.

There are no promises for success or failure, happiness or despair, famous or unknown.  All we are guaranteed is Admit One.  We get into the game of life and the outcome is not predestined; it’s up to you.

Some people are born with all the advantages and waste them.  Others are born into great hardship or have terrible things happen early in life, yet still manage to live fruitful and inspirational lives.  Consider Nick Vujicic, born with no arms and no legs.  Check out this video of Nick and see how he has made the most of his Admit One ticket into this world.

“There are no guarantees in life.  All you get is a ticket that says, Admit One.  The rest is up to you!”   ~Thomas D Willhite

Recently I retired an old leather briefcase I had been using for the past 25 years.  It was battered, stained and several of the zippers were broken.  As I was digging around in the bottom to get all the flotsam and jetsam of a life spent traveling from client to client I found, wedged into one corner, a large paper clip holding two things: A very worn and frayed Admit One ticket and a US penny of my birth year.

When I first learned the concept of Admit One, I got hold of these two objects, put them together in the clip, and carried them with me, as a reminder, that life is what you make it. Every so often I would pull out my Admit One ticket to remind myself of this one great principle of life.  Especially when I had a failure or we lost a contract or something negative happened in my life.  It didn’t change the event, but it did help to refocus my attitude in a more positive direction.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we taught these kinds of life lessons in our schools along with the other subjects? I wish I had learned the Admit One principle a lot younger.  At least I could have saved my parents from all my outbursts of “It’s not fair!”

Tight Lines . . .

PS.  I have a new briefcase and I also have a brand new Admit One ticket clipped next to my birth year penny.  Ready for the next of life’s adventures.

John R Childress

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About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
This entry was posted in Human Psychology, John R Childress, John's views on the world, leadership, Life Skills, parenting, Personal Development, Psychology, Self-improvement and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Admit One . . . Replay

  1. Hillery Shay says:

    You have no idea how much I needed this today. I have been wollowing in my own self pity about not finding a job quickly after being laid off 6 months ago. I needed the kick in the pants to stop saying it’s not fair! Thank you, I gotta find my ticket andy penny.


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