Roman philosopher EPICTETUS has said, ‘There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying about things, which are beyond the power of our will.’
A lot of people are not born lucky, and those who are, fail to recognize their luck and be happy. We also have difficulties that are not of our making. Almost all of us have to work for a living, some are born with health problems, some have uneasy passions that make life a challenge, our families may not be ideal, our children may not turn out right, we may not have the right conditions at our work place, and the like. All these things are enough to cause stress and make life uncomfortable. Happiness is not always handed out to us, we have to find it and create it for ourselves. Or we can ruin our lives in rebellion and be nervous wrecks. The choice is ours and we have to choose.
We cannot conquer fate and necessity, yet we can yield to them in such a manner as to be greater than if we could. — LANDOR
RUSSELL has also said, ‘Resignation is of two sorts, one rooted in despair, the other in unconquerable hope. The first is bad; the second is good.’
A man who resigns to fate in despair does not help himself in any way. He abandons all future effort and accepts defeat and justifies his actions, at times, with religious doctrine as well. But he remains inwardly unhappy as he uses a path of escape, and escape is not what we are talking about here. We are talking of hope. When you base your resignation on hope you act in a different way.
Whatever setback you may encounter, you accept it with hope for a new future and work with renewed zeal and the wisdom that you have gathered with your experience, and March ahead. This is what can bring you inner peace and happiness and give a new meaning to your life. Accepting what is, and will be, and resigning to fate in the hope of creating a new future, is what you should aim at. This is what is expected of you too. And this is what is essential for your peace of mind and happiness.
Effort and resignation as Russell has called it, is the right balance between the two extremes of making an effort on one side and to resign to fate on the other. These two opposite schools of thought have wisdom in parts, but only in parts and that is what you should remember. Making an effort is preferable to resignation. But there are certain areas in life where this cannot be done and this is what you have to understand and learn.
1. improve what you can and accept what you cannot improve or change. Fighting against the inevitable or the irreversible will only be a waste of time and energy.
2. Strike the right balance between what you should try to improve upon and what you should accept and ignore.
3. Accepting the inevitable does not make you weak. In fact it gives you more strength to be able to carve out a new future.
4. Acceptance does not mean resignation; it means hope, a new future, happiness and peace.
5. Fretting and fuming will serve no purpose. See if a situation can be altered. If yes, go and do it. If no, forget it.