I don’t wanna change the world,
I don’t want the world to change me,
I don’t wanna change the world,
I don’t want the world to change me. –Ozzy Osbourne, I Don’t Want To Change The World
There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means. –Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way
I lived in an interesting place growing up. And by interesting, I mean that sometimes the scene was bad. There was a lot of poverty in some parts of the neighborhood that brought problems. There were gangs, drugs, and broken families.
One evening when I was 7 or 8, I remember lights from a police car shining through the front window of our home. I peeked out and saw the father across the street being taken away in a straitjacket. Never saw him again.
My mother was a school bus driver. Students weren’t allowed to wear gang paraphernalia on the bus, so she’d make gang members remove any violating pieces of clothing. They’d retaliate by calling our home and making threats.
Some of my childhood friends didn’t do so well. Two have died from alcohol abuse. Another overdosed on heroin. A couple weeks ago, I found out that another childhood acquaintance became a gang leader. He went on to torture and murder two people and now resides in a Supermax prison.
It’s Not The Shit Life Throws At Us
Sometimes I wonder if my life could have taken a different path. I’m in a great place now; I have a good family and we don’t struggle. If conditions were just a little different, could I have gone down a bad path? I started thinking and I came to this:
It’s not the shit that life throws at us, but how we react to it.
My acquaintance who now calls the Supermax his home was a smart kid, but somewhere along the way, he got caught up with the wrong people. If conditions and his reactions to them were just a little different, maybe he would have graduated from college and done great things.
Think about the following:
When you get knocked down, do you wallow in pity or do you get back up and try twice as hard?
Do you see mistakes as failures or learning experiences and opportunity?
Do you focus on the bad in people or try to find the good?
Are you mostly angry or mostly happy? Which wolf do you feed?
Do you seek to solve problems or would you rather watch the world burn?
What do you do to maintain happiness?
I Don’t Want The World To Change Me
While I escaped the problems that surrounded me as a child, I’m in no way a unicorn. If anything, my weakness was my strength. I occasionally saw my parents struggling with money and that instilled a huge fear. Money insecurity propelled me to study something worthwhile (computers), get a good job and invest wisely. If I had been a confident person, maybe my life wouldn’t have turned out so well.
As for the rest, I’m still figuring it out. Too often, I let myself get dragged down by silly nonsense.
Define Your World (not the other way around!)
It’s work to maintain the right attitude.
It’s work to be constantly mindful of reactions to negative people and stimuli.
However, if you can control your emotions, I believe that something wonderful will happen:
Instead of letting the world define you, you’ll define your world.
When life tosses a grenade your way, you’ll find a way to turn it into an opportunity. If someone says something nasty about you, maybe you’ll realize it’s just a reflection on them and an issue they’re going through. Instead of lashing out, you’ll help them.
Learning to react positively to the struggles of life is nothing less than changing the lens through which you experience the world.
Life is too short to let yourself be upset by someone having a bad day or an insecure boss. Don’t let the world drag you down to a level beneath you. Instead, seek to pull it up to yours.
We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.-Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.