The list of everything I can’t change in the world has only 2 items, just like everyone’s.
Through a big part of my life I believe or was forced to believe there are a lot of things in my life I cannot change. While this may seem true, it is not by far.
I remember watching many, many years ago the movie Groundhog Day, with Bill Murray. Despite its inocuos and humorous appearance, it is a masterpiece about life and the possibility of change.
I learned in life, there are things I can change, and things I can’t change. And that I can choose to accept this fact, or reject it.
In the movie, Bill Murray’s character Phil goes to Punxsutawney to cover the ground hog festival only to wake up each following morning and live the same day, over and over. He falls into such depression, he feels the only choice left he has is to kill himself. And he does in every possible way, and still wakes up again like nothing has ever changed.
He meets a homeless to which he takes out for a cup of soup, and later that day he finds him dead on the streets. The next day, again, he takes him for soup but this time, later on, he takes him to the hospital. At the same time as yesterday, he dies. He learns CPR and tries to save him the next same day, to no avail. He kept focusing on one of the two things no-one can change: our biological limits. No matter what we do, we’ll all eventually die.
And that’s a breaking point for him, because eventually he realizes the second thing we cannot change: the past. No matter what we do, we cannot change what already happened, only how that affects us.
To finish with the movie analogy… well, you can watch the movie.
When I thought about it, I came to believe those are the only two things I don’t have a choice on: my biological limits, and the past. Everything else, is my decision, my responsibility and it’s open to endless possibilities.
I learned when I rejected what I could not change, I found yourself immersed in a feeling that I’ve been victim of injustice. Like someone got in the way, someone else is to blame. And that drove me away from the possibility of change by delegating the responsibility and possibility to others.
And that when I rejected what I could change, I also lose focus of the fact the future is uncertain, and I can change it. I make my own future, and it is important that I see it as a world of possibilities, instead of feeling like nothing you do matters.
I needed to take control of my life, and when I started to accept there are things I simply couldn’t change, when I accepted the possibilities in life I’ve lost or mistakes I’ve made, I realized I could learn from it and reshape my future.
And above all, when I accept there are things I can change, my entire world changes. I become a force of change, a positive balance in the world. Everything is possible, and I’m the owner of my own fate.
I learned I have full power on my life, on how things affect me, and I learned that through ups and downs.
And as scary as it may seem, it is a wonderful feeling to realize you can do anything because you have choices every step of the way.
Interested in more? Reference books:
- M. Foucault, Words and Things
- R. Echeverria, Ontology of Language
- D. Goleman, Emotional Intelligence