No, I am not writing a review of the 2013 SciFi Thriller starring Sandra Bullock. Nor am I referring to the Oxford English Dictionary definition “The force that attracts a body towards the center of the earth or towards any other physical body having mass.” My favorite application that is outside the boundary of this blog entry is the one from the Astrophysics Science Division of NASA listed as the Starchild question of the month:
“What is gravity? We don’t really know. We can define what it is as a field of influence, because we know how it operates in the universe. …However, if we are to be honest, we do not know what gravity ‘is’ in any fundamental way – we only know how it behaves.”
The Starchild answer comes close to what Bill Burnett of Evans-Burnett LLC refers to as a gravity problem when you consider the phrase “it is as a field of influence”. A gravity problem is something you cannot change; meaning if it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem, it’s a circumstance. Burnett states further circumstances can be reframed. (the TEDtalk is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SemHh0n19LA)
What this means to me is that there are some things we are unable to change. It will only throw us into more misery if we lament over having brown eyes because we are unable (at least in this moment in time) to change the color of the iris (no, colored contacts don’t count). We need to accept that our eye color, height, genetic code or any of the myriad of things that are out of our control.
That is not to say that we are unable to affect change in other areas. You know the saying “admitting it is half the battle”? I think that is what Burnett is referring to when he speaks of working on a problem. I we complain about our job, relationship, weight or whatever but don’t take some steps to fix it, it is not a problem—because problems can be solved.
This is where the serenity prayer may work wonders; change what you can, accept what you can’t and endeavor to know the difference. So if you have something perplexing, take a look at it. Is it something you are willing to work on? Is it something that just is? Peace can come in different ways and the trick is to figure out what needs to be done…or not done.