LRS 094: How to Accept What We Can’t Change 49

How to Accept What We Can’t Change - the let's reach success podcast

On this episode of the Let’s Reach Success podcast I’ll talk about acceptance. Haven’t had a zen episode in some time now, so decided it would be great to talk about mindfulness and learning to live with what we can’t change in order to be happy.

One of the main reasons why there’s no balance in life is that most people are desperately trying to change everything. But life has limits, and when we don’t accept that, we end up being constantly disappointed and are taught lessons the hard way.

We often want to control everything.

But there are moments in life – be it when someone doesn’t love us back, we lose a loved one, a project at work fails, an accident happens, or else – when we need to be okay with things the way the are and move on. If not, we’ll be stuck, overthinking the situation, thinking how we could have done it differently, and blaming ourselves, other people or even life for things not working out. That’s a wrong approach and it makes us miserable.

The nature of life is to change, everything is impermanent and that’s how it’s supposed to be. 

It’s a comforting thought if you think about it as it guarantees that all bad moments are temporary and we just need to do what we do, and wait for better times to come.

But the problem comes when we hold onto something.

Be it a person, an object, who we are at this stage of life, what we’ve achieved before but can’t anymore, a place, or a mental state even. We are attached and want the same feeling of comfort, the same outcome. But something has changed, and it just can’t be that way. That’s when we need to gather our willpower and patience and be okay with things in order to keep living our life and be happy in the present.

That is a hard skill to develop if you’re somebody who’s stuck in the past, are negative, like blaming and judging, or always expect more.

I’ll now talk about acceptance a bit more, and hope that with the steps I’ll give you later on you’ll learn how to accept life and anything unexpected the moment it happens, how to be okay with change, and even find peace in the chaos around us.

Show Notes:

  • Why the way we live is a matter of choice, and what’s the right one [3:15]
  • How acceptance leads to powerful behavioral changes [5:21]
  • What is radical acceptance and how to avoid suffering with it [6:59]
  • 5 simple steps to being okay with things we can’t change [10:15]

Listen to How to Accept What We Can’t Change on YouTube:

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Why Top Executives Meditate (and Why Should You) 29

Why Top Executives Meditate (and Why Should You)

If you want to perform at a high level – whether in tennis, chess or at work – you either have to study how the masters in that field train and operate, or you need to be so stupendously talented that nobody is in a position to give you any advice at all.

For most of us, the latter doesn’t apply, so getting better is partly a question of emulating what we see those we admire doing. At the C level in top companies, this obviously includes things like actively networking, knowing as much as possible about your industry and training your subordinates.

A less visible habit is becoming more popular among top executives, though: meditation. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why some business superstars consider this a vital part of their daily routine:

Rebooting a Negative Mindset

When you have to deal with dozens of issues each day, it’s inevitable that you’ll have some successes and some failures.

The problem arises when our responses to setbacks start bleeding over into other matters. Meditation helps us to dispassionately examine our negative thoughts and get back on an even keel before the next meeting.

Most of us will have experienced days where we hit an upsetting snag first thing in the morning, after which nothing we try seems to go right. Rationally speaking, this can’t be because your horoscope says that your day will suck or accidents come in threes: the most likely explanation is simply that suffering a reverse conditions us to act in a way that doesn’t lead to success.

Remaining Objective

Although we’d like to deny it, our “rational” decisions are shaped at least as much by our emotions as by the relevant facts. This becomes even more true when we’re under pressure; anyone interested in how this works will find plenty of examples in Ben Horowitz’s book, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things.”

Simply put, when our emotions are engaged, we become less able to find creative solutions to problems, see the wood for the trees and tell our needs from our wants.

Meditating, even if only briefly, helps us separate fact from perception and feeling from thought, leading to better judgment and more a consistent management style.

Releasing Stress

Although closely related to the previous points, the negative impact of persistent stress on our health makes it worthwhile discussing this separately.

The roots of stress are many: frustration, anger, disappointment, anxiety. These feelings can’t really be avoided in a management position, so many executives turn to a therapist or therapy, exercise or uninterrupted time with their family for release.

These approaches are all effective, but meditation has the advantage that doing it regularly trains our minds to enter a “centered” state within a very short time of closing our eyes and stilling our thoughts.

Once the habit has been established, whenever things get to the point where our palms are sweaty and we feel the need to yell at the wallpaper, we need only take two or five minutes to get back to the “real” us. This ability is simply invaluable for anyone who has to be at their best all the time, which means that it’s great news that meditation can be learned by anyone.