My father was always full of great life lessons like, “Hey,
turn that light off,” and “That gun’s probably loaded,” and stuff like
One thing that has always stuck with me is, “If you’re going to do something, do the best you
can do or don’t bitch about how it turns out.”
This comes up because I keep seeing this dumb adage about “Your
reaction determines your outcome.”
Something like that. It’s all
over the social medias, and I personally think it’s patronizing and rude, along
the lines of “I am #blessed because I have a Mercedes, and God hates you
because you live in a shack in India.”
Let me explain:
Let’s say that you are just walking down the street, and all
of a sudden, some fool in a Mercedes, updating her Facebook status about how
she is #blessed, blows a stop sign, and smashes into you, breaking your
hip. Is the fact that you have a broken
hip (your outcome) your fault because
you didn’t jump out of the way (your reaction)?
Let’s take this one step further.
Let’s say that, you decide that you aren’t going to let this broken hip
get you down. You forgive the #blessed
Mercedes driver, you follow your doctor’s orders, you go to physical therapy,
and you do everything right. Your
reaction is PERFECT. Your attitude is
flawless. You can’t even believe how
lucky you are to have been hit, because it’s given you such a great opportunity
to meet new people and understand how people with one leg live. But, sadly, because you have inherited
osteoporosis from your mother, your hip doesn’t heal. How in the hell did your reaction, your
attitude, or your fucking mindfulness have any effect on your outcome?
Wait, let’s keep going. Let’s say that you are like my mother when
she had a broken leg, and you sat around and smoked all day, walked on your
cast because crutches are for suckers, decided that physical therapy is less
fun than watching soap operas and eating chocolate, and still healed like a
fucking champion because, like my mom, you are made of Irishness and Brillo
pads? How did your reaction in any way
affect your outcome? How can your
attitude of “Ah, fuck it,” work, when your attitude of “I’m going to beat this
thing!” not work?
On the other hand, let’s return to my father’s adage: if you’re
going to do something, do the best you can do, or don’t bitch about the outcome. My father was a firm believer that, sometimes
you do things right, and it still doesn’t work out for you. But at least you can look back and say, “Hey,
sometimes shit happens, but at least I know I did everything I could do.” But you know what? Sometimes you get hit by a #blessed Mercedes
driver, and you don’t heal well, despite what you’ve tried. It doesn’t blame you for obviously not
reacting correctly. For not having the right attitude.
Sometimes, however, you decide, “Fuck it, I’m out,” and
instead of working hard, you phone it in.
Well, in that case, it might work out for you, or it might not. You might heal, or you might end up in a
nursing home. Sometimes you get lucky,
sometimes you don’t. But if you don’t,
you gotta live with the fact that you didn’t try to rock it out. Your choice.
I’m not saying that a winning attitude doesn’t help. But for God’s sake, we can only control so
much. We live in a vast universe with all kinds of people, including very bad
ones and very good ones. What can we
do? We can do the best we can do. And, most of the time, our hard work reaps
wonderful results. We get the life we
want. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes Hitler happens, and no matter what
you do, your world is torn apart. Sometimes, the best you can do is to do your
best and survive. Your reaction does not
determine your outcome. Your reaction
determines your peace of mind. Your
outcome…well, that’s unknown.