“You really can change the world if you care enough.” ~ Children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman
Is that all it takes — caring really, really hard? Or is it working 70 hours a week to the exclusion of all other activities? Or is it working smarter, not harder,that really instigates great change?
All of these have been recommended by someone at some point in time, but the fact is, there are some things you just can’t change, no matter how hard you try.
In fact, continuing to beat your head against the wall is… well, not very effective, and pretty painful. So cut it out, would you?
Perseverance and tenacity are only good qualities when the objective you’re working so hard to achieve is actually attainable. There’s a lot in life you just can’t change.
1. YOU’RE ACCOUNTABLE TO SOMEONE.
Probably a lot of someones, depending on where you are in your life. It can be tempting to take shortcuts, bend the rules or stretch your ethical boundaries in the pursuit of what you think is the ideal outcome, but we all answer to someone at some point (that is, if answering to yourself isn’t scary enough).
2. YOU’RE NOT GOING TO LIVE FOREVER.
Even in the midst of all the crazy, remember totake care of yourself. We push ourselves SO HARD; we’re constantly “on,” always connected, skip vacation time, and more. Americans (and I’d argue especially entrepreneurs) are fantastic at working ourselves into the grave. You won’t enjoy your tomorrow if you were too hard on yourself today, so lighten up.
3. YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE.
Seriously, just stop. Trying to make everyone happy is a thankless, soul-sucking endeavor that will only leave you drained and miserable.
4. YOU’LL NEVER CATCH UP TO THE JONESES.
You’re always going to know someone with a nicer car, bigger house, better job, hotter partner, etc. Quit wasting your time trying to be someone you’re not. Life’s not a competition.
5. HOLDING THAT GRUDGE IS NEVER GOING TO HAVE THE EFFECT YOU’RE HOPING FOR.
Unless what you’re really after is prolonging your own pain and unhappiness. If that’s what you’re after, keep it up!
6. SIMILARLY, YOU CAN’T CONTROL WHAT SOMEONE ELSE THINKS.
You can suggest, demand, implore — you can scream it at the top of your lungs, but you can’t always change another person’s mind. You can’t make anyone like, love or forgive you. You can’t win their respect if they’re not willing to give it. You just can’t.
7. YESTERDAY IS OVER. YOU CAN’T GET IT BACK.
There are no re-dos. Stop dwelling on the past; you can’t change it. Pull your socks up and keep moving.
8. THE WORLD… NOPE, YOU CAN’T CHANGE IT.
It’s nice and inspirational and all to think one person could actually change the world, but some things are just bigger than all of us. You can definitely make a difference in the world around you — that’s not a problem. Just watch that you’re keeping your expectations of the impact you can actually have in check.
9. WHERE YOU CAME FROM.
Privilege is a real thing, there’s no denying it. You can’t do a thing to change where you came from and the circumstances or situation you were born into, but you control where you’re going. You might have to fight harder than others, and that sucks, but it’s up to you to use what you might perceive as weakness or a detriment andmake it work for you.
10. NOTHING IS EVER REALLY PRIVATE ANYMORE.
This isn’t going to change; in fact, our privacy will continue to be eroded away in the years to come. Your emails, cell phone use, photos, online footprint and more all tell their own stories with data. People do crappy things to each other for nefarious reasons. You just have to assume that nothing is ever really private and conduct yourself accordingly if you don’t want the skeletons in your closet spilling out one day.
11. YOU CAN’T GET BACK WHAT YOU’VE LOST.
You can replace a lost investment, or find a new mate, but there’s no point trying to change the fact that sometimes, what’s lost is gone forever. This is especially true of relationships — they might be rekindled, but they’ll never be quite the same.