“Accept what you can’t change and don’t reinvent the wheel” by Dr Neil Thompson

Life is never without its challenge, but there is always the opportunity to learn and grow from those demands made on us. Dr Neil Thompson offers advice to tackle these problems and help social workers and care professionals to realise their potential.

17/01/22

“Accept what you can’t change and don’t reinvent the wheel” by Dr  Neil Thompson

There are things that we can change directly, things that we can change indirectly (through influence), but there are very many things that we cannot change at all.

When we encounter these we basically have two choices: (i) we can learn to accept that we cannot bring about change, make the best of the situation and invest our energies in those things we can change; or (ii) waste a lot of time and energy trying to do the impossible and/or become negative, defeatist or even cynical about the fact that there are certain things we cannot change.

Which option we choose will have major consequences for ourselves, our colleagues and the people we are seeking to help. So, make sure you choose wisely.

We can also so easily become engrossed in our work and under so much pressure that we don’t look more broadly at the situation we are dealing with.

This can mean that we can find ourselves reinventing the wheel – that is, not realizing that it is likely that other people will have faced the type of situation we are in now and will have found helpful ways of responding to it.

There is much to be learned from finding out how other people tackle their challenges, but we won’t do any of that learning if we don’t take the trouble to try and find out.

If we don’t make that effort, we will be doomed to reinvent the wheel and not learn from other people’s experiences.

Dr Neil Thompson is an independent writer, educator and adviser and a visiting professor at the Open University. His books include How to Survive in Social Work (with John McGowan) and The Managing Stress Practice Manual. He is also the Vice President of Vigoroom UK, a sophisticated employee wellness platform designed to help create happier and healthier workplaces: www.vigoroom.co.uk.

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