Resign as Captain of the World!
How are you feeling today?
You might be having the best of weeks, or the worst of times, or somewhere in-between.
Wherever you’re at, I’m going to suggest a good many of those reading this short blog post would benefit from resigning – as Captain of the World.
This piece of advice was given to me in the mid 1990’s by the late Lou Tice, founder of the internationally respected Pacific Institute.
It’s saved me many wasted hours, countless frustrations and lots of emotional angst.
Because it means understanding and accepting that I can’t do everything.
And to attempt to do so is not only counter productive but leads to all manner of emotional, mental and physical problems, too. To say nothing of the danger of becoming the host of my own regular ‘pity parties’ and a martyr to boot!
Yes, the vast majority of us would like there to be an end to suffering.
Yes we would like for justice to rule supreme and for everyone to live fulfilling and joyful lives.
And yes, it’s good to dream big and do what we can in order to be part of the answer and not part of the problem.
But feeling responsible for everything that goes wrong on the planet, (or in the office or home), worrying incessantly about the plight of situations and people across the globe over which you have no influence at the moment, and constantly berating yourself for not doing enough leads to overwhelm. And hardly contributes to any lasting and meaningful change in the world, anyway.
On the other hand, choosing to focus on one or a handful of areas where you can make a real impact without wearing yourself out in the process, resolving to live in such a way that you act kindly and with respect and encouragement to all who cross your path and making sure that you nurture key relationships: these are the foundation stones that will bring balance and meaning to your life.
They will also free your mind from the mental clutter and angst that prevents you from getting on with the things you can do because you’re worrying too much about what you can’t do.
As Edward Everest Hale said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
Maybe this is what American theologian Frederick Niebuhr was thinking when he wrote the words of what has come to be loved and known as the:
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
That’s it for now.
I’m sure you have other things to want to do. Why not make resigning as Captain of the World one of them.