The things we COULD change

If you’re mildly interested in self improvement and philosophy (or ancient Rome or Greece for that matter), you most like have heard of stoicism before. This word postulates a calm state of mind through changing what we can change, and not worrying about the things we have no power over.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
~ Reinhold Niebuhr

(Niebuhr is not really known as a stoicist, but this quote sums it up really well. Thx to my fav person for telling me about this saying)

Niebuhr Diagram

Ok, cool.

But this diagram does not always look like this. Sometimes, there are certain things we do have SOME kind of power over, but getting involved mean invading someone else’s orbit of power. Oftentimes, these are things that are not your job, but you’re still somewhat affected by them. This might be something like your flatmate leaving breadcrumbs all over the kitchen.
Or the person driving behind you not leaving any space between your cars.
Or someone in your grocery line not wearing a mask.
Not your job, barely your business, still annoying or stressful.

All of this is the space where the areas overlap:
Niebuhr Diagram, but make it Venn

So, what should i do?

There are three possibilities:

Niebuhr Diagram, but make it Venn

Clearly, you want to avoid option 3. This one is definitely not stoic, and actively not calming your mind. Limiting your decision to only two options turns this into an all or nothing decision.
But these two options still have one thing in common:

The consequences

Make a (mental) list of the things you (realistically!) COULD change and in what way you can influence the outcome. Don’t forget social consequences, since you’re most likely invading someone else’s area of control.
Compare this list to the projected outcome of you not getting involved.

But i’m still not sure…

Ok, since even lists got you nowhere, you might as well choose option 3.
Think about it, even MAKING the list got your mind involved so you might as well follow through and panic. Or really get involved and try your best to achieve your desired outcome.
If you’re still not done with lists and want a hard yes/no, you could weight the consequences and choose the option you deem better.

So, panic then anyway?

If you prefer, you can always panic. There’s SOOO much to panic about. But this one situation does not have to be one you need to panic about.
So, go back and think about the consequences again. This time, focus on how long and how strongly they will affect you.
Chances are, you don’t need to get a fake ID on another continent because of a college group project with a typo you didn’t correct. Even less because of mostly normal human behavior of the people you’re surrounded by.
Life is short. You better find your peace. And keep it.


Interdimensional Pyramid