If Life Is a Car

If Life is a car, we like to picture ourselves in the driver’s seat. Hands firmly on the steering wheel. Foot down to the floor. Seventy miles an hour, but no more.

The truth is, however, that for almost all of what makes up this thing we call Life, we are very much in the back-seat, if not the boot. Life is driving us around, not the other way round. Life knows where Life is going, and Life doesn’t want or need our intervention. It laughs when we suppose otherwise.

That sounds a little depressing at first. But notice that I said “almost all” just now. For there is that rare class of situations in Life where you do have leverage. Where your intervention is not only wanted but needed. Where you have the power to change, if not the world, then at least your world. Where, for a brief star, you are driving Life around for a change.

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.

Reinhold Niebuhr

There is no shortcut to that wisdom, and there is no formula for knowing the difference, but I know two things to be true:

One: You must find the answer for yourself. Almost everybody on the planet has it ass-backwards.

Two: Worrying about getting it wrong is a waste of time. You will get it wrong. Constantly. And if you keep getting it wrong long enough, you’ll start to be right just a little more often.

That teeny, tiny margin is the difference between an existence and a Life.

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