Even Control Freaks Need Wisdom to Accept What They Can't Change Accepting that we don't control very much but can handle life's challenges is the first step to banishing needless anxiety.
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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.
So often we think we want the benefit of predictability. We fear lack of control. In fact, much of the suffering we feel we endure is because we cannot control a situation or a person.
"He didn't love me like I needed to be loved."
"The business deal didn't happen that I needed to happen."
"My kids are acting crazy."
"My mother is sick."
We fear the unknown and we exert so much of our energy trying to control the uncontrollable.
Related: Note to Self: Be Aware
But what would happen if we could control EVERYTHING? What if you could make any person fall in love with you? What if you could close any business deal you wanted? What if you could instantaneously make the exact amount of money you wanted? What if you could control the weather? What if you could control the way every single person treated you?
How long before you would get bored with your life?
If you could wake up every morning with every circumstance of the day and it's outcome already mapped out, what would be the fun in living? How many days or weeks would it take before you were longing for something, ANYTHING, to challenge you?
The irony of life is that we thrive on the element of surprise. Our human nature loves to learn, adapt, grow, plan, fail, and then win. We love challenges. We grow through adversity. We become creative when we need a solution to a problem. Yet, we spend so much of our time wanting to create complete control over the outcomes of our life. We call them "bad days at the office" when we face adversity. We become depressed when a project fails and we need to come up with a new solution. So much of our internal suffering comes from us feeling as though our lives are out of control.
Related: Get Control Over Fear
Successful entrepreneurs have learned to play the game of life instead of wasting energy trying to control the uncontrollable. Successful people wake up each morning and accept the fact that they have NO idea what could happen that day. They use their focus to embrace and solve new problems, situations and relationships. Successful people have accepted that change is not only inevitable but is necessary for them to feel alive. Successful people understand that obstacles only make them stronger and challenges only make them more creative.
Success is not about having everything under control. Success is about accepting what you cannot control and not wasting your energy trying to control it. As the Serenity Prayer states: 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. Focusing on "the wisdom to know the difference' will bring about your success.
Related: How to Stay Calm in a Crisis