Life is full of forks in the road at which we are faced with the option of trying to make things work or letting it go. And while we are not always going to pick the right direction, it’s always important to distinguish between what is up to us and what, for better or worse, never will be.
What You Can Change: You can change the degree to which you listen to people when they are talking, even if they’re telling you something you don’t want to hear. You can be more careful about how you give and receive your limited time. You can actively not reach out to people whom you know are never going to reciprocate. You can choose to answer the phone more, and be as receptive to people as you would want them to be to you. You can make time for people even when it isn’t convenient, because you know that one day you’ll need them, too.
What You Can’t Change: You cannot make someone be more interested in you or care for you more than they do. You cannot force yourself to be someone’s priority, even if they are yours. You cannot force people to get along if they fundamentally have little in common, even if that means you will have somewhat separated groups of friends. You can’t make yourself transform into a new person every time you meet someone who wants you to be different.
What You Can Change: You can change how long you stay at it, how much effort you put into every project, and to what degree you participate actively in moving up the ladder. You can pay attention to the relationship you have with coworkers and superiors, because they can end up being just as important in terms of success as the actual work that is getting done. You can avoid engaging in backstabbing or gossip or petty judgments about each other, even when it comes time for someone to get ahead and someone else to stay behind. You can focus your energy entirely on what you are doing and actively stay away from worrying about what someone else is getting that you’re not.