Apparently some fella (Reinhold Niebuhr 1892-1971) who had considerable wisdom penned the following:
"... grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference."
Easier Said than Done?
Yet the safe bet is going to be that each of us struggle with that last section, upon which everything hinges. Sure, give me the wisdom, but wisdom isn't really given. It is learned, experienced and gained over time.
It isn't as difficult as it sounds. In fact, Stephen Covey, the guy behind that game-changing program, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People developed a way to "know the difference."
The question is: How much time do you spend worrying about what you can't control, and how much of that time would be better spent focused on those concerns that you can influence?
Once again, this is one of those blatantly obvious scenarios.
Yet once again the best bet is that most of us are falling prey to that useless worry, stealing our focus, time, and energy from those things we can do something about!
Am I right?
The solution: Circles of Influence and Concern
That is the whole premise of that practice Covey developed, and its simplicity is astonishing.
It works like this:
On a large blank sheet of paper (although a Wipebook would be an eco-friendly solution for this -- just saying), draw two big circles, one inside the other. Label the outside ring "circle of concern", and inside the first ring write the label "circle of influence."
Now simply write in the outside ring those things beyond your control, for sake of argument say world hunger, terrorism and earthquakes. Then write inside the inner circle those things you can control and influence, perhaps school loans, vehicle repair expense and medical bills.
You will soon be asking why are you worrying about that if you can't control it?
REMINDER: The ability to see where your focus should be, and having the clarity to prioritize your concerns will do wonders for your stress levels.