You get what you’re willing to put up with. In a world where things seem to be constantly beyond our circle of influence, that single sentence is very empowering. From your friends, to your job, to the car you drive to the piece of trash in the street you see when you get out of your car, your current situation is up to you.
Picking up a piece of trash on the ground is an easy way to affect the world you live in. No one likes to see litter, and by taking the time to throw it away, you’re saying that you’re not willing to put up with it. You can easily expand that idea to participate in a neighborhood cleanup or Adopt A Highway project.
I once heard that no one wants to drive a cheap imported car. They only do so because they couldn’t afford the car they really wanted. They may hate that car every time they drive it, but choices they’re making elsewhere in their life put them in the situation where that cheap piece of junk is the only thing they can afford. If they really wanted to, they could do something differently elsewhere in their life and buy the car they really want.
What if you hate your job? The Thank God It’s Friday and Oh God It’s Monday attitude is pervasive in our culture. If your job is that terrible, then why are you still there? If it was really that terrible, you could quit and do something else. Take a class, learn a skill, or even doing manual labor, you could do something else to get out of that bad situation if you really wanted to.
What if you have crummy friends? Ones that take advantage of you by dumping all of their problems on you but when you need something from them they’re just too busy? Why do you still give them your time and talents? It may not be easy to just go out and make new friends, but that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate being walked all over by people who don’t really value you.
The enemy of better is good enough. Meaning that, if things were really bad, we would change, and quickly. If things are just OK, or not too bad, we put up with it, often for longer than we should. The trouble is when “not too bad” becomes the new normal and we come to accept being unhappy. What are you putting up with that you wish you weren’t? What can you do to change it?