One of my favourite podcasts is Finding Mastery with Dr. Michael Gervais. Dr. Gervais is a brilliant psychologist who has done inspiring work with the Seattle Seahawks and the Microsoft leadership team. Dr. Gervais says we can only train or change three things in our lives: our craft, our body and our mind.

Training our mind means acquiring psychological skills. One of the skills that I find very effective is the application of Frameworks.

So, what are Frameworks? I like to think of Frameworks as guides for my mind. Like guard rails on a curvy road, they keep me from psychologically hitting the ditch or going over a cliff. My Frameworks help me make sense of the world and maintain mental health and stability.

A simple but powerful Framework that I love is The Serenity Prayer. You may recognize it from addiction recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Let’s dissect The Serenity Prayer by looking at five key words: Serenity, Acceptance, Courage, Change and Wisdom.

Serenity and Acceptance

Serenity is a state of mental calm and clarity (opposite is worry or anxiety).

Acceptance means letting go and enduring without protest or reaction (the opposite is resistance). In this context acceptance refers to things outside of our control.

All of us tend to spend a lot of time worrying about and resisting things that are outside of our control. It seems to be human nature, but by definition, it can only be destructive. How can it be good for us to spend mental time and energy ruminating or worrying about something we can’t control?

I love this quote from Mary Schmich: “Worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.” We must accept there are many things for which we have no influence or control over.

When we accept things we can’t control with serenity, we are actually in control and we improve our well-being.

Note that acceptance does not mean to condone. I may not condone a court judgement, but if I can’t change it, I must accept my new reality (hopefully with serenity) and move forward into the future.

Courage and Change

Courage means standing up and stepping up. Interestingly, there is no courage in the absence of fear.

Change means taking action. By definition, there is no change without action.

Courage and change speak to acting purposefully in a way that takes us out of our comfort zone (past fear), but with the real possibility of positive and beneficial transformation. Courage and change speak to having agency, which means that we want to be creators of our lives, not just reacting to our external environment.


My definition of wisdom is the application of knowledge and experience for our benefit. Simply having wisdom isn’t enough – we need to apply it in our lives.

It’s unlikely we have all the wisdom we need in any given situation, especially if it’s new to us. Nevertheless, wisdom abounds and it’s up to us to find it. Some wisdom may come from our own knowledge and experience, but it may also come from others with more experience, or books, etc. We need to search for wisdom, we need to listen to it, and then we need to apply the wisdom.

None of this is easy. Training the mind is not easy. Accepting that many things are out of our control is not easy. But with time, practice, and patience, we can learn to apply the framework of The Serenity Prayer and begin to cultivate greater peace, security, and well-being, regardless of what’s happening around us.

How will you remind yourself to ask:

  • Am I worried about something I can’t control?
  • What do I need to accept and quit resisting?
  • Where can I find wisdom to support me with my challenges?

With loving kindness,

Coach Billy