This week’s installment of Money Boss Theater features a recent appearance I made on the Adulting podcast. For nearly 45 minutes, I spoke with hosts Miranda Marquit and Harlan Landes about taking charge of your life, choosing to control what you can control.
When I was younger, I let life happen to me. I wasn’t necessarily happy about my situation, but I didn’t do anything to change it. I had this idea that I was simply unlucky, that nothing good ever happened to me.
From the podcast:
In time I came to understand — and this didn’t happen overnight — that I was in a lot more control of my situation than I believed I was. I was just allowing life to happen to me. If you just allow life to happen to you, then you’re going to get whatever life happens to dish up. Sometimes that’ll be good, but a lot of times it’s just going to be indifferent. It’s not going to be good or bad. But it’s not going to be what you want.
What I didn’t realize then (but I know now) is that I am the one responsible for determining my future. It’s not up to god or luck or fate. It’s up to me. If I want good things to happen, I have to make them happen. (Or, at the very least, I have to take steps to increase the likelihood that they’ll occur.)
At the same time, you can’t control everything. Later in the podcast, we talked about how to handle bad breaks:
Bad things are going to happen. Bad things happen to everybody. We can’t control when bad things are going to happen or which bad things are going to happen. But what we do have control over is how we react to the things that happen to us. We get to choose our response…
When something crappy happens to us, we can choose if our response is also going to be crappy or whether we’re going to find some way to make the most of it, to find some meaning in it.
Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous serenity prayer captures this idea perfectly: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
There’s a lot of great stuff in this podcast, including one last point I’d like to mention. It’s a new idea to me, one I haven’t written about before.
In life, there are often default options. If you don’t consciously and deliberately choose something different, you get the default. Most people live their lives in default mode. They accept the default without question.
My aim for myself — and for you, the readers of Money Boss — is to both be aware of the defaults and to question them. Sometimes they’re fine. A lot of times, however, there are better ways to live. As boss of my own life, it’s up to me to reject the defaults when they’re at odds with who I am or want to become.
As boss of your life, it’s up to you to do the same.