When was the last time you were looking forward to a great day off, only to find all sorts of problems: the alarm didn’t go off, the car won’t start, someone stole your debit card info and you have no money in the bank… all before 9AM! Well, hopefully no one has a day that goes that bad, but we all have bad days. As problems happen, we become more and more frustrated.
Did you ever watch someone going through this? Did you ever see them make a problem worse because in their frustration they try to do something they can’t, or ignore something they can easily do? Much frustration and wasted effort can come from trying to control things we have no power over, and ignoring what we can change. I think the Serenity Prayer, when allowed to have an impact, is a wonderful way of approaching life. It reads:
God, Grant Me:
The Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change,
The Courage the Change the Things I Can,
And the Wisdom to Know the Difference.
Starting with courage, there are many things that are within our ability to control. What time we get up, who we spend time with, how we communicate, and where we work are all things we have control over, to name a few. Sure, we might not have 100% control over if we get hired or fired somewhere, but our actions can have an impact. If I never show up for work, I will get fired. If I go beyond expectations and show I am a valuable employee, I am probably secure in my job. We have more control over our lives than we realize. It takes tremendous courage to look at ourselves and our situations and identify what we have control over, because we are responsible for those things.
Recognizing what we have control over is necessary, but is only a first step. If I want change to happen, I need to do something about what I can change. How can I, or anyone, meet our goals without making some sort of change?
So, we need to make change, how do we make the change happen? Simple: plan it out. A plan sets the long-term vision, short-term measurable goals, and steps to get there. It is a blueprint for change that can be followed daily, if we do the work. It’s not always easy, but it is doable.
Courage gives us the ability to make the difficult decisions and follow through despite life’s challenges. Not everything will be easy or enjoyable, but it may be necessary for us to meet our goals. Courage to face those obstacles, and the unknown future, will help us make the changes we need.