One of the books I’m currently reading at bedtime is ‘The Rules of Life’ – A personal code for living a better, happier, more successful kind of life by Richard Templar. So many of these rules resonate with everything I personally believe in for life and work, the rules are short (two pages long) and very easy to find something you can relate to.
I wanted to share Rule 17: Change what you can change, let go of the rest.
‘Time is short. This is another of those faces you can’t escape; it’s a given. If time is short then it makes sense not to go wasting any of it, not a single lovely drop of it. It’s my observation that the successful people in this life are the ones who wring every last ounce of satisfaction and energy out of life. They do that by practicing this simple Rule. They pay attention to what, in their life, they have some control over and they simply, economically (time-wise), let go of the rest.
If someone asks you directly for help, then that’s something you can do – or not as you choose. If the whole world asks you for help, then there is very little you can do. Beating yourself up over it is counter-productive and such a waste of time. Now I’m not saying to stop caring about things or to walk away from those in need. In fact quite the opposite in many ways, but there are areas in which you can make a personal difference and other areas where you’ll never make a dent.
If you waste time struggling to change stuff that is obviously never going to be changed, then life will whizz past and you’ll miss it. If, on the other hand, you dedicate yourself personally to things you can change, areas where you can make a difference, then life becomes richer and more fulfilled. And the more rich it is, curiously, the more time you seem to have.
Obviously, if lots of us get together we can change pretty well anything, but this a Rule For You – these are your personal set – and thus this is about what you can change.
If you have the ear of a President or Prime Minister, you might be able to shape policy that affects the entire nation. If you have the ear of the Pope, you might have a hand in shaping the next Papal Bull. If you have the ear of a General, you might avert a war. If you have the ear of an Editor, you might get your name in print. If you have the ear of the Head Waiter, you might get the best table. And so on and so on. So whose ear you have you got? What influence do you have and what change can you effect by using that influence?
Often the only ear we have is our own. The only definite influence we have is over ourselves. The only thing we can really, really change is exactly that – ourselves. Wonderful. What an opportunity to do some good. What a chance to make a real contribution. Begin with ourselves and let it spread outwards. This way we don’t have to waste time preaching to those who won’t listen. We don’t have to waster effort or energy or resources on things over which we have no control and no certainty of any success. By changing ourselves through we can be assured of a result. Result.’
Excerpt from “The Rules of Life’’ available on Amazon and at all good bookstores.