One of my favorite quotes comes from Reinhold Niebuhr. He said “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.” I think that most people have seen or heard this quote at some point in their lives. It is extremely powerful and life changing once you understand, embrace, and implement it. The purpose of this article is to offer advice on how to implement this philosophy in your life.

There are things in life that you can't change no matter how much you might want to or how hard you try. For example, you might want to be a brain surgeon but experience severe spasticity in one of your hands, preventing you from performing intricate surgery. Or, you might want to be an airline pilot but are blind. In situations such as these, you need to find a way to make peace with the things you cannot change. Although it may not always seem possible, explore opportunities to participate in things you love in other ways, such as teaching. It may not be in the manner you desire most, but at least you will be involved and living your passion to some degree.

If you do have control and can change certain items in life, then develop a game plan to do so. If you are scared to change or don't know how to go about it, ask family members, friends or your co-workers for advice or support; seek coaching or counseling/therapy, read a “how to do it” manual/book; take an assertive class; etc. There are a number of ways to implement change if you really want to. Mustering the courage to facilitate change depends on how much you desire it. The more you desire change, the easier it will be to start. But you must start somewhere. Then take baby steps until you reach your final goal.

There are times in life when you may be on the fence about whether or not you can change a situation. Develop a list with two columns. In one column, list what you can change about the situation. In the second column, list what you are incapable of changing. Sometimes this will highlight whether or not you can change a situation. If you're still struggling, solicit feedback from family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors about your specific situation and challenge. The great thing about soliciting input from a wide variety of people is that they often think differently and offer varying perspectives. By listening to them, it may provide the information and knowledge you need to make a final, but wise, decision.

By considering the advice provided above, it is my hope that you will explore ways to accept those things in life that you cannot change, that you develop the strength and devise a game plan to change those things you can, and that you develop a network of people, from whom you can solicit input and advice, to help you determine what you can or can't change when you are indecisive.

Copyright 2010 © Sharon L. Mikrut, All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

If you want to make positive changes in your personal and/or professional life, then working with Executive & Life Coach, Sharon L. Mikrut, is the solution. Although her specialty is in partnering with nonprofit executive directors and managers to maximize their resources in a competitive environment, she is passionate about working with all individuals committed to personal and/or professional growth. Visit her website (, Nonprofit Professionals blog (, or Empowerment blog ( and sign up for her free nonprofit or life coaching newsletter.