The Serenity Prayer says, “Grant me the serenity to accept the thing I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Sometimes it doesn’t feel as if we have choices, but in truth we almost always do.
An acquaintance of mine, named Lara, was laid off from her job of fifteen years. She was a loyal employee and was confident her employer would reward her faithfulness with uninterrupted employment and an occasional thank you. So when she was laid off, she was devastated. “How could this happen to me,” she cried, “I’ve given the company the best years of my life and this is the thanks I get.” Lara had a right to be upset. She had a right to be angry. And although she had no choice in being terminated, she did have a choice in how she handled it.
She took control of her life. She allowed herself time to be angry. Then, instead of moping around and feeling sorry for herself for weeks and months, she took this seemingly bad situation and turned it into an opportunity to receive training in an area she was interested in. She also used the unscheduled break in employment as a respite, a time for a much needed vacation. Lara chose to work her situation to her advantage.
What does this story mean for you? Today identify a situation in which you feel you didn’t have a choice. Think through why you thought you didn’t have a choice. Now, go back and think about what you would have done differently. In hindsight, were there other options you could have explored? Is there something you can do right now?