Accepting the unchangeable. | 009/100

“No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.”


In any month, we have ups and downs, successes and failures. It’s unrealistic to expect anything more. No matter how hard you work or how many variables you strain to control, there are factors you simply can’t account for. Bad stuff is going to happen to you regardless. Economists call that systematic risk – the stuff you can’t diversify away.

It’s the price of entry to this game we call life.

Those kind of uncontrollable, random, awful things happening aren’t the real problem. The trouble we have is focusing on the gap between our expectations and reality.

As Seneca wisely said, we can’t have everything we want – and nor should we. The joy of achievement is in the struggle. Sometimes it’s enough to get the prize, and sometimes it isn’t. But you learn, and you move on.

So the next time you find yourself stuck in a mental loop, wishing for things to be different, running through hundreds of variations of ‘if only X happened, then I would have Y’ in your head, try this: take a breath, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly.

Detach yourself from the situation. Ground yourself in the present moment. Realise how lucky you are to be here, to be experiencing that breath. If you’re breathing, then you’ve got the energy to bring the fight to your goals, to do something about your problems.

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Accept what you can’t change. But the stuff you can? Get after that with all your might.

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