Sad girl in bed, backlit scene.

Acceptance

It is what it is.

As we journey through our lives, certain people, events, and conditions will come and go, sometimes when we really don’t want them to. Some of these we will have influence over, and some we won’t.

Some of these things are relatively minor. Catching a cold, having a fender bender, having a game rained out—these are things most of us can roll with without too much agita. But each of us, at some time or another, will also face the big things: divorce, losing a job, death. These things are harder to accept quickly, nor should we try to.

In any case, a better sense of how we handle adversity can take away some of the stress associated with our negative responses to those events, big or small.

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Ticket. A Woman holding her passport and ticket while standing in an airport.

Ticket

For me, one of the most interesting times in life is buying a plane ticket. Seems pretty straightforward, but to me that’s an exciting moment—one filled with the promise of adventure.

When buying plane tickets, many people buy the nonrefundable kind because they’re cheaper. When we click that button, we’re making a commitment to the trip and all it entails. We’re taking a leap of faith. We have faith that our seat will be there, that the plane will get us where we’re going, that the 1,001 arrangements we made will pan out. Maybe it’s commitment to having a good time or to achieving a goal.

In all of our lives, we don’t personally handle all the details. In the simplest transactions, we take many things on faith. When we do something as basic as buying milk, we assume that it was properly handled, that it was processed correctly, that the date stamp is right. We don’t check each of these things. We are making a leap of faith, and we are leaping every day.

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Desperation. A desperate man in deep thought.

Desperate

Have you ever been truly desperate?

We all have had times in our lives when we’re desperate—feeling a longing so strong, it seems we will die if we don’t get what we want.

But desperation can come in many forms and for many reasons.

Someone who is about to die of dehydration is desperate for water. This kind of desperation is black and white. There’s no middle ground. There’s no way of interpreting the desire in any other way. It is desperation in its purest form.

Then there is the other extreme—those who feel they are desperate for material possessions or the latest technology. Although this may feel like desperation (and our brains can actually turn it into desperation), with a little perspective and soul searching, we can discover the true nature of these feelings.

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Movement. Walking in an airport terminal

Movement

In a crisis, people react differently. Some have the urge to take action. This quality, combined with an instinct for knowing what is needed, can be an effective combination. But even those with great confidence can have doubts, and even the most effective people can be wrong.

Others may have the tendency to freeze up, or put off taking action, or take action that doesn’t solve the problem (or contribute toward the goal).

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Expectations. Man deciding whether he is able to climb a rope.

Expectations

What do you want from life? What do you expect to achieve?

These are important questions, and we should have ready answers. We might say we know what we want; we all have dreams and goals. But if we’re honest with ourselves about whether we actually expect to get those things, we may live our lives more intentionally.

Most of us can easily articulate what we want in abstract terms—health, happiness, and meaning—but we should also be able to give more concrete answers. The specific things we want and expect from life should be related to our more general goals.

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