In the past, I've advocated against the word "fair" - I thought it was subjective, emotional-driven, largely arbitrary, and led to muddy unclear thinking.
I've changed my position on it. I now think the word "fair" is okay for external evaluation and communication usage.
See, "fairness" still can screw up your life, if you let it. Lots of people do petty things or self-destruct because of fairness. Or they don't ask for a promotion where they'd do well in that capacity, or they turn a deal that's great for them where they get slightly less than "fair" but still massively more than they would otherwise.
Evaluate your own life and actions based on what's best for you, not fairness. Sometimes that does mean turning things down out of principle, heuristics, or for reputation reasons. But "fairness" shouldn't be a big component of your evaluation for your best action.
It can, however, be a big part of your external evaluation and communication.
The word "fair" is a short word that contains a lot of thought and emotion. It could take a long time to try to explain your entire position, morale, momentum, standards, etc in long form.
So you say you're looking to set up a fair deal. And you evaluate whether other people are going to perceive the deal as fair, since that's important for esprit de corps.
You've still got to be careful about it. It can muddy up your thinking in a hurry. But my old 100%-cut-fairness-from-the-vocabulary position went too far - there' some potentially good usage of the word.
Paolo Maffei sent me a link to this intelligent site - edkless.com. I found this video on there:
It's a good video, I recommend it.
I'd go a step further than the economist there - I recommend you completely ditch the word "fair" from your vocabulary. As in, remove "I only do fair deals" or "This is unfair" or "I try to be fair."
The problem with the word fair is it's completely subjective and almost never adds valuable information to conversation. It's a hazy word that gets in the way of constructive discussion.
I've been thinking a lot about balance lately. I keep catching myself treating it like a state, a way that things can be: "Everything is in balance." It's an alluring fantasy, especially when I'm stressed because I can look forward to some future where I've done all the work and things are in balance and the stress is all gone.
Except in the real, dynamic world, balance doesn't work that way. Balance is not a state of being. Balance is an activity. When you walk on a tightrope, you are never balanced; you are always balancing.
Maybe this seems obvious to you, intellectually, like saying "life's a journey, not a destination." But I always catch myself treating balance like it's a state, and I bet you do, too.
What motivates your actions? When something seems out of balance, and you are working to change it, is your motivation the underlying itch of "Just this last thing..."? I do this all the time. At work I'll see a situation that is on fire and I'll start working to put that fire out. Nothing wrong with that. But if I meditate a little bit to really see my underlying feelings, I see impatience, aggravation, and a sense of reaching, stretching out and grasping at some imaginary future where this fire is out and I can finally rest. Deep down there's a part of me that is looking forward to everything being balanced so I can take a deep breath and exhale and all the tension will leave my body and I'll finally be at peace.