The circumstances that we find ourselves in — being poor or rich, educated or high school dropout, being married or single, being published or not — only have power to influence how we feel if we choose to give them that power. We did not have control over the fact that we were born into a family that was poor, but we do have a choice about how we will respond to our circumstances. We have no control over how others respond to our painting or writing, but we do have a choice about how much influence the opinions of others have on us.
I had an opportunity to hire David McNally to speak several years ago. I was impressed with his story about making a documentary film about Terry Fox, a young Canadian who ran 3/5 of the way across Canada and raised 24 million dollars for cancer. McNally had no experience making a film but was inspired to tell Terry's story of purpose.
At the age of eighteen, Terry Fox was diagnosed with cancer and had his leg amputated. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, he decided to find some purpose in what had happened to him. His goal was to run across Canada and raise a million dollars for cancer research. He made it 3/5 of the way before he became too sick and had to stop. He died a short time later. McNally movingly tells Terry's story in the film, The Power of Purpose.
The circumstances that we find ourselves in — being sick or healthy, employed or without a job, homeless or with a roof over our heads — only have the power to influence how we feel if we choose to give them that power.