“Many of us spend much of our lives dwelling on problems we have no control over, while we neglect problems that our efforts can help solve.What can we possibly achieve in life if we keep trying to solve problems that we have no power over? We need to learn to distinguish between what we do have control over from what we don’t and to put the latter aside.
This is why I have taught myself to follow these steps when I am faced with life’s issues: First, I determine which things are within my power to change, and then I try to solve the problem by improving myself. Then, with respect to things that lie outside my own control, I learn as much as I can from them and then set them aside, at least for the time being. Some of them will resolve over time, and others may not. Whatever the outcomes, this is how I’ve learned to look at my issues. And this is one way of thinking that has helped me lead a successful life.
Other people’s feelings are a prime example of things that lie beyond our individual power to control. No matter what we do, we can’t change the feelings that other people experience. The best we can do is offer them our advice, but we can’t always make them change things about themselves.
In contrast, our own emotions are fully within our power to control. Even in the middle of an argument with a friend, your thoughts and feelings are always open to your own choices. Even in a heated moment, it’s up to the free will of none other than yourself to decide how you think and feel about your friend. Do you wish to spend ten years harboring resentment in your heart and speaking ill words about your friend? Or do you wish to forgive and forget the argument the next day? It’s completely up to you.”
– Master Ryuho Okawa
From “The Art of Influence”