It all comes down to what you choose.
As the book is closing on another year, we reflect on our lives and what has transpired over the past 365 days. We remember the souls we lost, the heartaches we overcame, and the blessings that cover the pain with a fragile smile.
My life has been no different than many of you. I, too, have felt joy and despair.
But with all the everyday joy and pain a year brings, we also experienced multiple life-altering events that will leave a hard impression on not just who we are today but where our world is tomorrow. And we must decide how we are going to move forward.
Facing our challenges
- The challenges have been many, and often feel unrelenting. People just like you and me have seen, felt, and faced the unimaginable. They know no boundaries or sacred spaces.
- In the United States, we witnessed the unthinkable in the Jan. 6th Insurrection.
- The U.S. war in Afghanistan ended, leaving the Taliban in power.
- Supply chains became a casualty of the Covid Pandemic, leaving people around the world scrambling for products, food, supplies, and even tiny computer chips that wreaked havoc in the auto industry.
- Covid continues its onslaught on humanity across the globe.
- Conspiracy theories demonstrated a genuine lack of faith in science and world leadership.
- Climate change is ravaging our planet. Record floods, fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes result in unparalleled destruction.
- Russia, China, North Korea, Iran all pose a danger to our way of life worldwide.
No matter where you live, you can not help but be touched by some of these events or the many others not mentioned.
But with all the difficulties we face on this planet, we also witnessed triumphs that carry messages of hope and resilience.
Recognizing our successes
Sometimes the success gets buried by the alarming. But with just a little bit of digging, you may be surprised by the inspiring accomplishments taking place.
- SpaceX has taken civilians into space.
- Nasa launched The James Webb telescope, which many believe will revolutionize our understanding of the universe and our place in it.
- The World Health Organization declared China Malaria free and launched a campaign to rid 25 other countries of the disease by 2025.
- Simone Biles made us all feel better about discussing mental health.
- The U.S. rejoined the Paris Climate Accord.
- Renewables are continuing to outperform fossil fuels.
- Boyan Slat of the Netherlands has removed 20,000 pounds of trash out of the ocean and is using some of the garbage to make designer sunglasses.
What we can control and what we can’t
Both of these lists could go on and on. But the point is for every hardship or difficulty we face; life offers us opportunities to improve our lives and the lives of others.
I recently read an article by
Dr. Mehmet Yildiz, where he shares this advice,
We need to understand that these immutable and uncontrollable items are part of our lives and determine our success. The only viable solution is to accept things we cannot change, by focusing on what we can change and control. — Dr. Mehmet Yldiz
What can we do?
While we can not control everything in our lives, there are places we can, and it starts with how we react.
We must recognize our experience on this planet is limited, and our reactions are often based on this narrow viewpoint. We fail to see the bigger picture and look beyond our desires.
There is so much we don’t know, and with each day, we can relish the opportunity to discover more, tackle the challenges before us, and step forward, ready to face the future.
We owe it to ourselves and our families to rise above the negativity, embrace the positives and work towards making each day better than it was before.
We may be just one person, but together we make a living, breathing force.
The choice is ours, what we do with what lays before us.
We can step forward with hope and determination or turn away in fear and fall back.
I am looking forward. I am choosing hope over fear, learning over knowing, and the hearts of all the good people everywhere over the cowardice hearts of a few.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
For further reading, I highly recommend Dr. Mehmet Yildiz article What We Can Control & Can’t
A comparative checklist reflecting perspectives to human limitations and capabilities
It is an insightful look at all the factors which come into play when we face challenges and take action. Dr. Yildiz explains how we can gain power in our understanding of what we can and can’t control.
This article was originally published on Medium
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