Serenity: Your Success’s Saving Grace?




  1. the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.


Recently, I came across the serenity prayer hanging on a wall. This isn’t entirely uncommon — it is, after all, a well-known and commonly displayed prayer.

Seeing this prayer, or poem, struck me.

There are many truths and questions that seem universal and one thing each one of us seeks is happiness.

The pursuit of happiness is something that all men and women have sought since the dawn of time.

And a sure way to remain happy, especially during times of change, growth, downturn or ambiguity, is to remain calm.

Calmness, or stillness is what the stoics sought.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach.” – Seneca

It’s why the Buddhists meditate.

“Your worst enemy can not harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you as much.” – Buddha

Why the Dervishes whirl.

“Until you’ve found the fire within yourself, you won’t reach the spring of life.” – Rumi

What the serenity poem is all about.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

There’s a lot of power packed into that little poem.


Serenity Origins

The serenity poem’s first recorded written appearance was throughout newspaper articles in the early 1930s as a recording of sermons being given by Reinhold Niebuhr and his student mentee, Winnifred Crane Wygal. Wygal included a version of the prayer in her 1940 book, We Plan Our Own Worship Services, and credited her mentor with its existence. Many now associate the poem with either Christian households or AA, as it is a key tenant of the program.

Let’s take a deeper dive to see how it may just be a perfect motto or mantra for today’s hectic world.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.


The Power of Neutrality

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

The ability to stand in a neutral position gives you unheard of power. In tennis, players are coached to literally remain “on their toes,” as this position provides athletes with the greatest chance of springing into action in any direction that their opponent might lob the ball over the net.

Are you ready to move in any direction with what life is serving over the net to you?

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” – Jillian Michaels

When you stand flat-footed, stationary, immobile, you are at your most vulnerable. That position in tennis would make you a pretty terrible player of the game, and in life, that mindset will get you about the same results.

Your mental elasticity is crucial to your success.

“Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and being comfortable not knowing.” Eckhart Tolle

You cannot control, nor can you change all of life’s conditions. There are simply too many musical notes in this beautiful symphony of life to be able to control all the instruments and their players. What you can do, however, is adjust your hearing and interpretation. A jazz piece and a waltz sound completely different. You may prefer one style of music over another, but they’re both music. You can choose at any time to tune-in and appreciate the artistry in any kind of song.

To me, this serenity poem is surrendering to a higher power in one’s self.

It is tapping your own innate wisdom and intuition and acknowledging that there are things in your life that are simply outside your control. That’s normal and more importantly, it’s perfectly okay. You don’t have to be in control and know everything in this moment. Your ability to get comfortable with unknown outcomes in your life, in your relationships and your business or career, is okay.

And that flexible, optimistic attitude is crucial to your life’s happiness and your ongoing success.

“We see things not as they are, but as we are.” – H.M. Tomlinson


Developing Courage: Trusting Yourself

The courage to change the things I can.

Courage is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. I think there is a big misconception today that courage is only for the brave and for the big moments in life. In my humble experience, courage is rarely so dramatic and grand. Courage is the muscle I continue to develop daily where I listen to myself and believe in my own inner guidance, intuition and choices. despite how nuts they may sounds to those around me.

There are opportunities everyday for you to be courageous.

“Success if not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

To stand up for a co-worker who is being gossiped about. To walk away from a damaging conversation about a friend. To support a colleague you know has a better idea, at the expense of your own ego. To admit when you were mistaken in the way you treated your partner and make it right. To be comfortable with voicing, or acting out, your strange beliefs or rituals despite what other may think.

These are the tiny daily moment of courage that begin to accumulate and make you strong. This courageous muscle you choose to flex repeatedly suddenly makes the bigger moments that much easier to conquer.“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

There are opportunities every day for you to practice this character trait. See them as opportunities and seize the small ones. One great place to start is to practice saying no to someone today instead of a canned “yes” response when you don’t mean it. Or vice versa. Get a little courageous today with your yes’s and no’s and only provide the response you truly mean. It’s more challenging than you might think! “Can you stay late today?” asks your boss. If the answer is truly no, find a way to say it. “Want to go to a movie with me this weekend?” asks a friend. If you haven’t the time, money or interest, honor that truth and say no. No doesn’t have to be final, e.g. you can always suggest compromises that DO work for you, but don’t say yes or no out of obligation. It’s the simplest starting point and often the hardest.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” -Nelson Mandela


Serenity At Its Core

And the wisdom to know the difference.

To me, serenity is ultimately wisdom. Being calm allows you to have the discernment and openness to the right answers for your own life. As you develop this calm inner presence, you are able to make decisions not out of panic, or fear, or judgment or what you ‘should’ do, but out of the inner stillness that knows and has learned to to trust your own wisdom.

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all of your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir

You do know what’s best.

You know what’s best for your life, your relationships, your career, your business and what is best for you today.

You are the inner voice and higher power that the serenity poem is calling upon.

And as you develop this inner peacefulness, you start to see your life, every aspect of it from love to money, transform and improve.

You become the wisdom that knows the difference.


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