Serenity Prayer: recent publications

One Surprisingly Small Step that Will Change Your Whole Life

Too often people overestimate the significance of one big defining moment and underestimate the value of making good decisions and small steps of progress on a daily basis.You’re probably familiar with what’s known as the Serenity Prayer. It goes like this:God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.There’s an important lesson here — one that’s very often glossed over…When a chaotic reality is swirling around us, we often try to relieve our anxiety by exerting our will over external things we cannot control.It helps us stave off one of the most dreaded feelings: complete powerlessness.With that in mind, I have good news and bad news.The bad news is that generally speaking, almost everything is outside your control.

What other people do, whether it will rain tomorrow, whether or not your efforts will be appreciated — all of these outcomes depend on factors that aren’t YOU.But that’s also the good news.The friction and frustration created by trying to change things you cannot change is the crucible where a ton of unhappiness is born. Accepting that most things are outside your influence gives you explicit permission to let them unfold as they may.Stoic philosopher Epictetus put it this way:“Some things are in our control and others not.

Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our actions.”Overcoming the “three big un’s” that so many of us struggle with daily — unhappiness, unconvinced things will ever change, unsure what to do next — begins with understanding

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