Accepting that you have to play the hand you are dealt is half the battle.
I did a podcast a while back on how life is a lot like chess. If you have a strategy and you plan, you can avoid a lot of common problems that afflict us.
My good friend DT Strain, who runs the Spiritual Naturalist Society (check them out here: http://spiritualnaturalistsociety.org/) wrote me to say that he prefers a poker analogy to life. Here is what he said.
“Chess seems to offer far more control than life. I prefer poker - yes, you can play your hand well and those who play it better will, on average, do better. But sometimes you just get a cruddy hand and there's nothing you could have done to prevent it. There's a random element and good planning will help mitigate much of it, but not always or perfectly. So, being able to come to terms with that which is out of our control is also important.”
DT is of course correct. Life isn’t fair and you don’t start out even with everyone else. You have to play the hand that is dealt you and sometimes, you get a cruddy hand and you struggle and even playing a perfect strategic game won’t help you win. I feel like my husband and I have been struggling with a cruddy hand for the past few years. I console myself by realizing, because of the economy, everyone has a cruddy hand.
Anyway – this random element is super important. You can only control so much. The rest is random. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Driving drunk doesn’t guarantee you will get in an accident. Driving sober doesn’t guarantee that you will not. All your choices do, really, is change the odds in your favor or against you.
That might not seem like much, but over the course of your life, if you can continually shift the odds slightly in your favor you are going to reap more success than if you don’t. And that’s a lot of power when you think about it.