If you’ve read, Handbook to a Happier Life (p-5) or This is your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal (p-15), you read about the “Serenity Prayer.” This is a simple prayer, first used by Reinhold Niebuhr around 1934 and later given, by him, to Bill Wilson for use in Alcoholics Anonymous.
This simple prayer became one of the “tools” that saved my life more than once when I was in the early days of my recovery and trying to piece my life back to together. I would recite it every day as a way to keep things in perspective and it has been a great help to me since.
There are many times in our life when the Serenity Prayer can help and our current economic situation, with rapidly rising gas and food prices is surely one of them.
Rather than get caught up in worrying or becoming part of the, usually negative, discussion about “how bad things are,” you can apply the wise message in this simple prayer, to help you maintain a positive outlook.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”
One this is certain, you and I cannot do much about the price of gasoline, food or, for that matter, anything else. Being upset about it will do little more than increase your stress and raise your blood pressure.
You may not like the situation – I don’t – but you’ll be best served by accepting it as one of the things you cannot change and move onto the second part of the prayer.
“Courage to change the things I can”
Here’s where your power lies. There is always something you can change in any situation and the present economic conditions are no different.
Rather than “follow the heard,” and complain about the things you cannot change, use your innate abilities to change the things you can. In the case of gas prices, there are many steps you can take to reduce consumption.
You can drive slower – the “sweet spot” is 55 mph, combine your errands, use public transportation, car pool, walk, ride a bicycle, drive a smaller car, ride a motorcycle and a host of other things. Check with the American Automobile Association (AAA) for more tips.
To save on food, you can grow some of your food, use coupons, shop sales, use a list to eliminate impulse purchases, eat less (not a bad idea for some of us:-), shop locally, eat more grains, fruits and vegetables – again, not a bad idea.
You can always do something to cut unnecessary expenses, however, you can only do this to a point.
My philosophy has always been to look for ways to increase my income rather than lower my standard of living. I agree with Bob Proctor when he suggests you stop trying to live on less and focus on earning more.
I wrote a new book and created an 8 CD audio program to help you do just that. If you have not yet done so, I suggest you check out the book, Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck at or the home study audio program.
“Wisdom the know the difference”
Knowing the difference between the things you can change and those you cannot, is the key to taking charge of your own destiny and not becoming a victim to circumstances.
In any situation, ask, “Is this something I can change or not?” Apply the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer to any challenges in your life. Accept what you cannot change, change what you can and know the difference.