This week, I’ve been in a rather pensive mood. Due to the week-long semester break, I’ve had the chance to have a (much-needed) 'recharge' in solitude. I also took the chance to find tranquility by anchoring myself with the things, people, and activities that are familiar to me.
One of the many things that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to is this excerpt from Reinhold Niebuhr’s 'The Serenity Prayer' .
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.
Admittedly, I’ve come across The Serenity Prayer a few times over the course of the past few years of browsing articles and reading random bits and bobs on the Internet about Stoicism, but it never stood out to me as much. Last week, it hit me like a truck when it appeared on my Instagram feed as I was doing some very productive Instagram scrolling.
This is one of the biggest benefits of consuming loads of content and streamlining our Information Diet, isn’t it? (forever grateful to Winston for this shared insight). You may have encountered a concept ages ago, but the timing just wasn’t right for you to fully appreciate the magnitude and significance of it all. But if you continuously consume content, you create opportunities for the concept to finds its way back to you and resurfaces in your life when the timing is right; for it to leave an impression on you and potentially changes your outlook on life completely.
But that’s not the point here. (Note to self - expand the above paragraph into an entire article. Got to farm out that content.)
The point that I’m trying to make here is that The Serenity Prayer is quite the recipe to follow if we’re looking to be 'happy' and seek out tranquility.
Life is a constant fluctuation of events and our emotions, with it. This is why most of us feel overwhelmed when there are major changes taking place in our life. Our tranquility is disturbed and the effects of this disturbance ripples to various aspects of our life. It’s almost like a Domino effect.
Bob wakes up to the news that the shipment of his long-awaited iPad Pro has (yet again) been delayed by a week. Bob starts to feel irritated.
Bob then proceeds to shower, and that is when Bob realizes that he forgot to bring in the towel because he was too preoccupied being frustrated at the delayed shipment. Now, Bob has to go out of the shower dripping wet and that in turn, irritated him further.
At breakfast, Bob poured milk his cereal and proceeded to an empty table thinking he finally caught a break, just to realise that he absent-mindedly took a fork instead of a spoon. At this point, Bob snapped.
Bob skips breakfast, goes to class hungry and is on the road to feeling miserable for the rest of the day.
It seemed like Bob is having a terrible, terrible day.
However, if you isolate each of the events, you’ll realize that all 3 of them are not life-altering events. In fact, if they were to happen on 3 separate days, Bob would very well laugh it off and move on with life.
More importantly, they all fall under 2 categories:-
- Events that can are in Bob’s control
- Events that are not
If Bob could just find serenity within himself to accept that the delivery of his Ipad Pro was not within his control, he wouldn’t have to tell himself this story that his morning was off to a bad start.
This then greatly reduces the possibility of him leaving his towel outside of his shower. Even if he did, he could very well see that this is something within his control (aka something he can change to make better). He would then do the exact thing he did-went out of the shower dripping wet to grab his towel. Only in this instance, he wouldn’t be annoyed.
Lastly, if he were to have the wisdom to recognize that taking a fork instead of a spoon was a silly mistake and it happens to the best of us. It is not something that’s out of his control, he can just get up and grab a spoon so that he can enjoy his breakfast. Then, he wouldn’t need to go hungry for the rest of the day and write off the day a miserable one.
If only he had:-
- the serenity to accept the things he cannot change
- the courage to change the things he can
- the wisdom to know the difference.
With that said, I hope that The Serenity Prayer and my personal thoughts on it amuses you and adds value to your life in some shape, way, or form.
Have a great week ahead and see you in the next issue of Sunday Scoop!
- 🎧 Podcast - This is an episode from one of my all-time favorite podcast show - The Table Talk Podcast. The episode is called - "Hurt People Hurt People" and it genuinely had so many moments where I had to literally pause whatever I was doing, rewind to the last point they were making, and savoring it again. I posted the episode on my Instagram early on the week because it was so good that I felt slightly sinful to wait till Sunday to share it with you guys.
- 📹 Video- This is a video on Stoicism from my Productivity Guru, Ali Abdaal. It came at such a right time and was an enjoyable watch. Check out the link in his description to get FREE access to his new Skillshare class on Stoicism! I’m on the 4th episode but had to pause that to write this newsletter. #dedication #hustle
Are there ways in which you could apply the Serenity Prayer to your life?
Tweet of the Week
Enjoyed this issue?
Consider subscribing to my weekly newsletter, Sunday Scoop🍨 where I share:-
- A short article on a few life lessons I've picked up/productivity method I'm experimenting within the week
- Links to the favourite contents I consumed that week
- A question to ponder on for the week (or a challenge if I'm feeling cheeky!)
If this seems interesting to you, feel free to subscribe to my email newsletter below!