Ancient philosopher Epictetus went on to say 

“Of things, some are in our power and others are not.” 

What we can control

Indeed, we cannot always control other people or external events. We can, however, control our thoughts, regulate our emotions, and adjust our behaviour – to a large extent.  

Because we have complete control over our thoughts, we can alter the way we perceive external events. 

“God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” 

wrote Reinhold Niebuhr.

Two options

Simplistic advice you may think. Note the two distinct paths: to accept conditions as they are or to accept the responsibility to change them. 

Alas, most of us struggle with the third part of the above motto. Clouded by our emotions, we do not take a step back to examine:

  • Whether the specific problem is amenable to change

  • Its priority compared to other demands

  • Possible actions, and importantly

  • How much time and energy we are willing to invest to resolve the issue (1).

The “Ro method” is a rational problem-solving approach that presents the two options in a simple decision chart (see the header image of this lesson).

In the next lesson we will examine the two options.


Pick a problem, e.g., an issue you have been worrying about lately. Use the diagram above or the “Ro” method infographic to examine whether there is something you can do or whether you need to accept the situation.

Dr Ro, Idiots are Invincible


Rodafinos, A. (2007). Prince to frog and vice versa: Applied psychological techniques to improve yourself – or others (7th edition). Thessaloniki.