alternative 12 steps
The Proactive 12 Steps alternative 12 steps

Serenity, courage & wisdom

I strive to find:
- the courage to change what I can;
- the serenity to accept what I can't;
- & the wisdom to know the difference.


Printable "Wisdom" PDF

Transcript of the above video:

It's helpful to think of this as a journey, a mindful proactive journey, a quest for wisdom. Not wisdom in some kind of absolute sense, but wisdom of learning from experience, wisdom of growing who you are. You're growing your sense of self, growing into a more competent person to deal with the challenges of life and learning by trial and error.

Essentially, this is what Reinhold Niebuhr called the Serenity Prayer. He was talking about wanting to find the serenity to accept what you cannot change, the courage to change what you can, and the wisdom to know the difference. You cannot know that ahead of time, until you actually gain repeated experience in many circumstances.

In order to really gain experience, as opposed to simply repeating time and again the same mistake and getting stuck in the same mistake, you need to have that proactive and mindful attitude so that you're present with what happens. You remind yourself to try something that's different. You understand that you can try something that's difficult or scary to the extent that you maximize your chances of feeling safer. Okay? If we are too scared or under too much pressure or overwhelmed, we simply cannot change.

This is about a process in which we are focused on wanting to change. We have the mindful tool to pay attention to present moment experience, and the very specific concept of pausing in order to assess where we are and redirect our efforts. And a very compassionate, caring attitude toward ourselves… Of wanting to push a little harder, because if we don't push then nothing happens. But not push so hard that we go into fear, overwhelm, tension. No, just the right amount of facing the difficulty, so that there is a possibility of growth, in a very caring compassionate environment.

See also:

- Do we have free will?

- Higher Power as Inner Power: How to achieve lasting change from inside out.

The above is a secular (e.g. non-religious, non-theistic) version of Reinhold Neibuhr's Serenity Prayer. See full text of the original Serenity Prayer. See also: Printable "Wisdom" PDF

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See: FAQ about the Proactive 12 Steps

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