Accepting Not Everything Can Be Changed

24 Aug

There is a place for thinking improbably dreams and striving to attempt them.  There’s a place for praying for the seemingly impossible.  I’m in no way discrediting that.

But the majority of our time should be spent thinking smarter about change if we don’t want to become discontent. What is in our realm to change? Who can we influence?  Is change possible?

  • You can change your weight, you can change your body fat.  You cannot change your bone structure.  You can tighten and strengthen body parts but not everyone can achieve flat abs, even if they all follow the same training.  We have a different genetic makeup.  We need to learn to be okay with that.  To be smart about how we attempt to change our bodies through exercise.
  • You can change your approach to schoolwork.  You can change the way you study, the environment you study in, the time you spend on each subject.  You cannot change your learning preferences, you cannot change your right/left-brainedness (pretend that’s a word), you cannot change that certain subjects ignite you and others deflate you.  You can learn to pay attention to things that don’t seem interesting, you can learn to read academic reports, you can learn to process more information.  You can learn to love math, you probably can’t change the fact that you can’t do long division in your head.  (Maybe you can.)
  • In the business world, you can’t change your industry and the issues that face it.  Only in very rare cases, will a business coup occur.  In most cases, you cannot change your management.  You can change how you interact with them, how you argue your case to them, how you engage them in your daily work.  Only in very rare cases, can you change the goal or mission of your company.  In most cases, you can only change how you or others interact with, communicate and push forward the goals and mission.
  • You cannot change your child’s personality.  You can teach them right from wrong, you can teach them to be polite, you can learn to see things from their perspective.  But you can’t physically change who they are.
I can wear colored contacts that make my eyes look blue.  But they would still be brown.  I can learn to be friendly and engage with people.  But at my core, I will still need times of relaxation to reenergize my batteries.  Thanks to the invention of Spanx, I can change the shape I appear to be in. Thanks to PhotoShop, I can appear to vacation somewhere I’ve never been.
I always wanted a little brother.  I had no say in getting one.  (And I’m guessing it’s time to give up the dream and content myself with brothers-in-law.)
When people start griping at work and at school and at the gym, I always want to stop them and point out that they can’t change some things. Why not accept those things and work on things they CAN change? You can’t change your teacher’s grading policy. You can change how much you study for an exam. You can’t change government regulations, you can learn best practices to engage in that might mitigate the pain from those regulations.  And you cannot become small-boned if that’s not the way you were born. Or gain 8 inches so that your weight is more evenly (and attractively) proportioned.  You can decide to wear 8 inch heels.  But I guarantee you won’t find pain-free 8 inch heels.
A lot of discontent seems to come from people wanting to change the things we can’t, instead of the things we can.  We voted in a President. He’s President.  What can we do now?  Sometimes the only thing we can do is change our attitudes.  Sometimes we can speak out against something.
Sometimes I can only sit back and watch the Red Sox lose to the Yankees.  And accept that I personally can’t (and shouldn’t) grab a bat and try to change that.  Luckily, after last night, we’re no longer in the losing position.  And that is a fact I am willing to happily accept.
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