God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
Ah the old "serenity prayer”! Who recognizes this one? The serenity prayer was penned in 1932/33 by a man named Reinhold Niebuhr.
This prayer has become a staple in modern society especially in recovery groups and similar programs. Pushing a hundred years old now the prayer has stood the test of time — but wait a minute, the ancient Stoics probably deserve some credit too.
Dating back to the 3rd century BC the stoics have been teaching this very principle, so, for my third installment and favorite of the Stoic principles — today I’ll be talking about "Focusing on What You Can Control, Accepting What You Can’t"
“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us.”
Lets STart Here
Let’s first look at this principle a little deeper and then I’ll share some real examples and how they have helped me in my life.
To grasp this principle and put it into practice we must first grasp and practice this sub-principle and that is to remove all judgement of anything that is out of your control.
When it comes to things that our out of your control the stoics believed in being impartial to the event meaning not labeling as good or bad, happy or sad, etc.
The stoics believed the only judgement should be towards that in which you control. Your personal habits, practicing the stoic virtues, attitude, emotions, and choices.
If only what is my control can be good or bad, it might look something like this...
You get the point - all thing within my control.
That’s it! The only things that can be judged as good or bad are the things within my control. ALL ELSE IS INDIFFERENT.
Truth be told, the easy part for me to grasp was that what I do or don’t do is good or bad. The hard part was the indifferent part. The part about viewing all else as neutral.
Let’s look at some examples of what’s in your control VS what’s not or judged VS impartial.
- I take care of my body and mind — Good
- I get sick with a disease — Indifferent / neutral
- I love my spouse with all my heart, soul and energy — Good
- my spouse is taken from me in an accident or affair — Indifferent / neutral
- I work hard and save for my future — Good
- The stock market crashes and I lose all my retirement — Indifferent / natural
- I set goals and made big plans for 2020 — Good
- Enter COVID-19 — Indifferent / neutral
Again, this was the hard part for me. This was extremely tough to grasp. It doesn’t mean the event doesn’t hurt. OF COURSE IT DOES. It means that once you deal with the pain and initial trauma you move on and don’t stay victim to it. It means we all have the freedom to choose how we experience life events.
It also doesn’t mean we walk through life with rose colored glasses or on the other extreme emotionally disconnected from the rest of the world. It just means we do not attach a judgmental meaning to the events of our life that are beyond our control.
Victim To Victor
One of the greatest breakthroughs I’ve had in my entire journey was when I moved from VICTIM to VICTOR. The internal peace and harmony that accompanies this shift is indescribable.
How’d I do it?
I worked hard to put all of my attention on what is within my control — then I did, and still do, my best to stop judging things that are not in my control. This brings all judgement and responsibility to me.
Image what adopting this principle did for my unresolved emotional baggage from being bullied for years. Image what it did for my fear of not being accepted.
I don’t know what you're going through, I do know that adopting and applying this principle will help.
If you are ready to take back your power and take your personal growth to the next level consider the “Redemption Experience” Hosted by my coach James Arthur Ray.
I’ll be attending and arming myself with the mindset, flexibility, adaptability and emotional intelligence to reconnect with myself and thrive in what ever chapter our amazing planet encounters next.
The world is changing with or without you — Are you ready to THRIVE and change your reality?
Learn more and reserve your seat using the link below — http://www.mikecalderwood.me/blog/redemption-experience