While tidying up and decommissioning my old Money Boss website, we found a couple of treasures that deserve to be shared here at Get Rich Slowly. This is one of them.

A couple of years ago, I was a guest on the excellent Adulting podcast. Although targeted specifically at young adults, this show has great info for everyone who feels like they need help being a grown-up. (I fall into that category, and I’m nearly fifty!)

In this episode, I spoke with hosts Miranda Marquit and Harlan Landes about taking charge of your life, choosing to control what you can control.

Adulting Podcast: Control What You Can Control

When I was younger, I let life happen to me. I wasn’t necessarily happy about my situation, but I didn’t do anything to change it. I had this idea that I was simply unlucky, that nothing good ever happened to me.

From the podcast:

In time I came to understand — and this didn’t happen overnight — that I was in a lot more control of my situation than I believed I was. I was just allowing life to happen to me. If you just allow life to happen to you, then you’re going to get whatever life happens to dish up. Sometimes that’ll be good, but a lot of times it’s just going to be indifferent. It’s not going to be good or bad. But it’s not going to be what you want.

What I didn’t realize then (but I know now) is that I am the one responsible for determining my future. It’s not up to god or luck or fate. It’s up to me. If I want good things to happen, I have to make them happen. (Or, at the very least, I have to take steps to increase the likelihood that they’ll occur.)

I truly believe that becoming proactive is the number-one secret to wealth, freedom, and happiness. At the same time, you can’t control everything.

Later in the podcast, we talked about how to handle bad breaks:

Bad things are going to happen. Bad things happen to everybody. We can’t control when bad things are going to happen or which bad things are going to happen. But what we do have control over is how we react to the things that happen to us. We get to choose our response…

When something crappy happens to us, we can choose if our response is also going to be crappy or whether we’re going to find some way to make the most of it, to find some meaning in it.

Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous serenity prayer captures this idea perfectly: “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.”

There’s a lot of great stuff in this podcast, including one last point I’d like to mention. It’s a new idea to me, one I haven’t written about before.

In life, there are often default options. If you don’t consciously and deliberately choose something different, you get the default. Most people live their lives in default mode. They accept the default without question.

My aim for myself — and for you, the readers of Get Rich Slowly — is to both be aware of the defaults and to question them. Sometimes they’re fine. A lot of times, however, there are better ways to live. As boss of my own life, it’s up to me to reject the defaults when they’re at odds with who I am or want to become.

As boss of your life, it’s up to you to do the same.

Author: J.D. Roth

In 2006, J.D. founded Get Rich Slowly to document his quest to get out of debt. Over time, he learned how to save and how to invest. Today, he’s managed to reach early retirement! He wants to help you master your money — and your life. No scams. No gimmicks. Just smart money advice to help you reach your goals.

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