Our Two Choices When Facing Challenges

Life throws lots of challenges our way. It is through these that we often learn important life lessons. How we face our challenges is what ultimately leads us to these lessons. Generally speaking, we have two choices when we are confronted with difficulties – Change it or Accept it.

While neither one is necessarily easy, those are our two paths. They both require movement. To change or accept means you are moving towards a desired end result. The alternative to these choices is to do nothing and complain about our circumstances. We know this is unproductive, but we may need to spend some time in this place while we process which action step we will ultimately take – just be sure not to get stuck here. While you could argue that this is a choice as well, it’s not an empowering one and its based on inaction instead of action.

Sometimes, though, we’re not quite sure whether to Change a situation or Accept it. Here are some considerations to make that may help in your decision:


  • You have the ability to change it – most circumstances allow us some control, so take that control and do something different
  • The fear of remaining in the same situation is greater than the fear of changing – Change can be scary, but staying the same can sometimes be terrifying. How do you feel about being in the same situation one, five, or ten years from now?
  • Doing so can help you reach your full potential or a better version of yourself
  • It causes, or has the potential to cause, harm to yourself or others
  • You get excited about the long-term possibilities a change can bring


  • You have little or no control over the situation – an example may be a friend who won’t stop smoking. It upsets you and you worry about them, but you don’t have control over their behavior.
  • You have tried everything in your power – for example, you want to be promoted where you work, but despite all your best efforts, you just can’t seem to get the support. It may be time to accept that advancement isn’t likely to happen there.
  • You are in the heat of emotion – When we are very angry or upset, that may not be the best time to make a long-term decision. Accepting, even if only temporarily, may be the best choice in those heated moments. You can always look back on it when your emotions have settled and reassess.
  • You look into the future and believe you could be happy with staying in that situation. You recognize that you may be going through a phase of contemplation right now.
  • You recognize that short-term sacrifices are likely to result in longer-term happiness. For example, giving up on building the dream house now and settling for (and accepting) a smaller home may allow you to save more money and build that new home later in the future when it’s more within your financial means.

There is the possibility that you can choose both change and acceptance in some situations. This may be accepting a situation while changing your attitude about it. Maybe you have a strained relationship with your brother who is terrible with finances and doesn’t want your unsolicited advice. You can accept that and take the attitude that it’s his life to do as he wishes and when he’s ready to change, he’ll change. Until then, you will continue to have a relationship with him (acceptance), but leave all talk of finances out of it (change).

The most important thing is to ensure you don’t stay stuck in complaining. You may be a victim of your circumstances, but you don’t have to STAY a victim of your circumstances. Change or Acceptance is the way out.

Now I’d like to hear from you! Share in the comments section an important decision you made to either change or accept a challenging situation, and why that was the right choice for you.

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  1. Such wise words and your post has so much I can relate to, I usually love challenges , but when I lost a job with a company that I naively thought would last forever, my life and ego crumbled, I did , as you so rightly say become a victim of my circumstances, spiralling into a deep hole. It was only when I did indeed accept the circumstances, that I realised it was a liberation into a new existence.

  2. Such an insightful post April! Yes change can be scary, but we cannot just remain in the same situation just because its comfortable and familiar. Making changes need a lot of courage and I was scared to have my own business without knowing where it leads, but I refused to stick to the routine and the boring 9-5 jobs. That was the change I made and I am proud of it.

  3. Such a great post and so true! Once I accepted the only true thing I have control over was myself, or my choices I became much more calm amd relaxed!

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