“It’s better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.”
~Chinese proverb

Years ago, practically lives ago, I was in a job that I hated. I had loved it when I started it, and in retrospect most of it was a great experience, but at the time I was miserable.

I was out to dinner with work friends and (apparently once again) complaining about how awful things were for me back at the office. One of my friends stopped me mid-sentence, with obvious annoyance. “Why don’t you just get another job,” he asked, “instead of just b—-ing about it?”

“I’m trying,” I answered. “I really am trying.”

I really was. I was interviewing and interviewing and interviewing, but I hadn’t gotten anything I wanted.

My friend’s question was justified, however, because even if I was doing something about my situation, or at least trying to, so often we don’t. So often we curse our darkness, and never take the time, or make the effort, to light a candle and cast some light onto our situation.

It usually doesn’t take much to light a single candle. It’s only one candle. But we don’t do it. We might think it won’t make much difference. (Again, it’s only one candle.) We might not be willing to make the time. We might be so worn down by the darkness (or the angry colleague, tough boss, overwhelming work and life load) that we not only don’t feel like we have the energy to maybe strike one match, but we may not even think of it. We’re so caught in where we are that it doesn’t even cross our mind.

But we can light a candle. We can set up support systems that remind us to create any light we can. We can take even small steps to lessen our distress.

Or we can curse the darkness.

Are you cursing the darkness, or lighting a candle?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.


For support in lighting your candles, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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Photo Credit:Sol.Ru/Bigstock.com

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