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7 Rules for Serenity at Work and in Life
Lionel Fisher

I�ve found that my rules for serenity have changed considerably from when I was young. I�m not sure whether it�s because I�ve passed meridian on my journey -- or just a curmudgeon now -- probably both, but I�d like to share them with you:

1. The secret of getting what you want is not to want it. Next time you desperately want something, try not caring whether you get it. Think back. How many of your greatest desires have come true? On the other hand, how much of what you didn�t really care about wound up happening anyway? The best way to get what you want is not to care if you do.

2. Know when to just walk away. After a lifetime of holding it all together, I�ve learned to just let go. Now I do what I have to and then I do what I can and then I turn it over to a higher power, as the addiction recovery folks refer to the simple act of letting go. Let it be. There will always be an answer, regardless of how little or how long we agonize over the question. Why is that so hard to understand when we�re young.

3. Do it for yourself first. If it winds up being good for others, that�s fine too. If not, it won�t matter because you�ll have done it for yourself in the first place. How much of the misery you�ve caused yourself has come from doing things for others you never would have done for yourself?

4. Co-dependent tennis is not a good game. When you serve the ball, someone should hit it back to you. If no one tries, the game should be over. Stop returning your own serves and volleys. Stop playing off your own energy, needs and desires. Quit kidding yourself.

5. If it's not worth overdoing, don't bother. My lifelong motto has been, �If it�s worth doing, it�s worth overdoing.� Lately, though, I�ve added a qualifier: �Or it�s not worth doing at all.� This assures me enough time to overdo everything on my extremely short list. And to be passionate about whatever it is I choose to do.

6. The 10-percenters will always be with us. It�s something my Marine Corps drill instructor taught me. No matter how much you threaten, beg, bully or cajole any group of people into doing something, there will always be those who won�t get with the program. Don�t take it personally, but save yourself a lot of grief and factor the 10-percenters into everything you do.

7. Don't pray for God's sake, pray for your own. God doesn�t need my prayers, I�ve finally figured out, but I do. Funny how long it�s taken me to realize that simple need, to get it turned right-side-out in my head.

- - - (as learned in the advertising world)
Lionel Fisher is the author of Celebrating Time Alone: Stories of Splendid Solitude (Beyond Words Publishing, 2001). Reach him at beachauthor@hotmail.com to share your thoughts on magnificent aloneness.