There’s a lot in life you have no control over. Those things can range from trivial (road construction) to moderate (road construction when you’re late for work) to serious (getting laid off from work because the C.E.O. has bankrupted the company) to catastrophic (being seriously injured by a drunk driver).
Even when you have no control over your external circumstances, there is one thing you can control: how you will give your life meaning by how you will give of yourself.
- Stuck in traffic?
What empowering meaning can you give this situation? Maybe it’s an opportunity to practice respecting people under stress. In that case, you can let a car merge ahead of you.
- Laid off from work?
What empowering meaning can you give this situation? Is this an opportunity to write that book you’ve always wanted to write? Or maybe the meaning is that communities pull together in times of need. So, you organize a weekly meeting where your former co-workers strategize about their job search.
- Injured by a drunk driver?
What empowering meaning can you give this situation? Maybe it’s that you never want anyone else to experience this kind of trauma, and you start working on projects that prevent drunk driving.
Life isn’t what happens to us, but the meaning that we give these events. The more powerful the meaning, the more powerful our gifts will be and the greater our impact on the world will be.