I want to to play a word association game with you. Y’know the game? I say ‘apple’, you say ‘fruit’. I say ‘sky’, you say ‘blue’, I say ‘Ryan Gosling’, you say ‘hell yes!’
So the word association game I want to play has a little twist. I want you to respond to a phrase.
Just accept it.
What went through your head? Did you have a response? Or are you still thinking of Ryan Gosling....
Many people don’t like the response. Acceptance carries a social stigma. It often feels like giving up, it feels passive, it feels like there is nothing you can do because really what’s the point, right? (metaphorical arse-thrown in the corner moment). Picture the following examples.
- The house you fell in love with went to a higher bidder - you’ve got to accept it.
- Your organisation is going through a major restructure - you’ve got to accept it.
- Someone else selfishly ate the last piece of chocolate in the house - you’ve just got to accept it.
Bloody acceptance. It’s just giving up. Giving in. Well, maybe not.
There is another side to acceptance, it’s not the enemy that it’s made out to be. In fact acceptance - with out judgement - is the catalyst for action and change. When we actually accept whats happening, we fully grasp the current situation.
Imagine for a moment that you put on a pair of jeans after the indulgent Christmas season only to find the jeans are tighter than they were before Christmas. You have a few options; you can blame the shrinking jeans, the dryer, or the warmer weather that leaves you retaining fluid. Regardless of the reason anything but fully grasping the situation is denial. Acceptance comes from seeing the situation as it is - without blame. Calories in has been greater than calories out - hence tighter jeans.
It’s not bad, it’s not good - it just is.
From this point of full acceptance, we are able to make a choice about what to do; for real meaningful action. The next time you get frustrated with a decision at work that you have no control over, a project that’s not going to plan, or a conversation that didn’t go as well as you’d hoped, take these two steps:
1. Accept - what
2. Drive - what could be.
Once the situation in front of you is fully grasped, and accepted, the actions you take are 100% your responsibility. The point of acceptance may just be the most active thing you need to do today - what are you waiting for?