A prayer that has become increasingly popular over the last several years is “The Serenity Prayer”. It’s been used by people recovering from addiction or just people looking for a little more peace in their lives. While it has a few different forms to it, this is the most common version:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
It’s simple, clear and readily accessible to just about anyone because all of us go through moments in our lives where we scrap, claw and battle… but damn, it sure would help to know if we could even make a change on that thing we war against so fervently. Knowing that line between the changeable and the impossibly fixed would be helpful.
My last post on thinking… well… got me thinking (funny how that works) about a different kind of line – the one dividing thoughtful consideration and pointed action. As I wrote previously, I am all for taking time to think, ponder, navel gaze and whatever else you want to call it… but sweet mother of God, there will come a time when all of that contemplation needs to be set aside and action must be taken. There is certainly value to thinking for the sake of thinking, but most of the time, you are thinking over some issue or question that you then need to do something about.
This is the precise reason why on my About page you will find one of my favorite General Patton quotes – “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.” Endless thinking becomes endless hand-wringing and worry over how things will turn out. You will need to reach a moment of putting into motion a plan because a good one now can take you someplace… and let’s be honest… the perfect one never comes.
So maybe that’s how I would have a new version of The Serenity Prayer. Something along the lines of:
God, grant me the discipline to think deeply,
The drive to commit fully to my actions,
And the wisdom to know the place for each.
It’s not perfect poetry, but you get the general flavor of it all. Or maybe you just scrap the whole notion and go with 4 simple words: Plan thoughtfully. Execute fiercely.
3 Replies to “The Serenity Prayer… Revised.”
I am all for thinking, but it really is important to avoid paralysis by analysis, too.
Absolutely, my friend.”Paralysis by analysis” may be one of my favorite terms to date.
The discipline to think deeply (not to be confused with day-dreaming) should be basic before any serious action. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily a contemporary human trait.