I am a quote lover. I use quotes to inspire and ground me and often share them with others when I feel they can help. A good quote can give me insight and perspective that I did not have before and needed. This is one of those quotes.
I'll retype it here: "things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out." When I first heard this quote, it took me a couple seconds and a few repetitions to really have it sink in. To me, this is profound wisdom that we can use to remind ourselves that how we respond to situations dictates how we end up feeling and that the response we have is within our control.
A dear friend told me this quote while I was in the hospital six months ago impatiently waiting for my dad to recover from a shockingly difficult surgery and simultaneously having all my plans for Italy crumble. I cannot say now if she meant it to be consoling or even relating to the situation I was in, but what I took out of it was that I had the power to control how this situation turned out.
This is not to say that I could make my dad recover faster with my mind and powers of intention or that I could create a place for us to stay in Italy out of thin air. It also did not mean that I had to be happy about what was happening in order to choose my reaction. What it does mean is that I had an option of whether or not to freak out about it and stress myself out completely over both things that I could neither control nor change. It served as a wonderful slap in the face.
I used this quote then to remind myself that I have the choice to remain calm and level headed in a sea of uncertainty. That despite being scared about what was happening with my family, I could choose to talk about it and work through the scary emotions rather than bottle them up. I could choose to use my energy to be strong and remind my family that despite having no control over this situation, we can still put our best feet forward together. It helped tremendously then and still does.
I think reading the title of this post you can see where the perspective comes from, but let me be clear about the responsibility aspect. It is my belief that we are all responsible for the life we create for ourselves. No matter the hand we are dealt, we have the ability, and further, the responsibility to make this life what we want it to be.
If we can agree on that, I'll ask you to re-read the quote, specifically the last part-- "those who make the best of how things work out." Not those who complain the loudest or those that make the most money. Life is not all great for some and all crappy for others solely because of circumstance. The common thread of people making life work for them is the responsibility to their outcome. The perseverance despite the negativity.
I'll end with another quote that resonates the same message: "happiness is a choice." In addition to recognizing that we cannot control everything life throws at us, we also must recognize that we have the power to choose how we handle those curveballs. Is it with acceptance and patience, or is it with stress and defeat? Remember, we do not have to like something to choose to accept it, but that is another topic for another day.