All too many of us find ourselves trapped in situations not of our own making. Untenable working conditions. Desperate poverty. Bad marriages. Unsafe living conditions.
By all means, if you can get out of these situations, move heaven and earth to do so. But each of us has our own story. Some of us are stuck, pure and simple. I get it. I’ve been there.
One of my favorite books is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I’m not going to lie. It’s kind of depressing. But in the end it’s also unbelievably inspiring. Here’s a man who survived four Nazi death camps. The reason he was able to get through it with his sanity intact is that he assessed what he had no control over (which was practically everything), but then he realized that there was one thing no one could control but him: his mind and his spirit. They could starve him and torture him in countless ways, but they couldn’t dictate what he thought. That’s pretty powerful.
Most of us aren’t nearly as trapped as Dr. Frankl was. We have even more control than he did. Even if your work life is a nightmare, you can go home and make your living space special and unique to you. Even if you are poor, you can create. You can learn. You can explore the world around you. There’s always something. You just have to look at your situation with a clear eye.
I’ve found that I’m much happier when I focus on what I have instead of what I want or can’t have. So, what can you do with what you do have? What can you change? What can you control?
Hold onto those things and make them as amazing as you can. No one can take the ability to do that from you. It’s yours. It always was. Don’t ever forget that.