the things you can change.

I work for the amazing and talented dog trainer Sean O’Shea, and one of my duties is to talk to potential clients about the issues they are having with their dogs.

The other day, i was talking to this really sweet woman about all of the problems she was having with her dog-aggressive dog. She was telling me about the dog’s terrible history, the negative experiences it had in its past, it’s breed tendency, etc. She sighed as she said – “it just seems like a lot of stuff that we can’t do anything about – training can’t change what’s already happened.”

True! So true. Nothing can change what has already happened – it has happened, and wishing it away and wishing it was different won’t do us any good.

“Yes…” I said slowly, my mind racing, knowing I could either say something profound, or something kind of vague and lame. “But…let’s focus on the things you can change. So she has had bad experiences, a tough past, and is a tough breed, but she also has no structure or rules, and has never been told No in a way that she takes seriously. So we can’t change the first three, but we can change the last two, and that makes her almost half-better!”

of course I went on to explain how those first three don’t even really matter once you address the last two, etc etc – I won’t get into the dog training nerd-ness – but, just as she needed to hear it about her dog, I realized that I need to be reminded of it constantly:

If you have a problem, focus ONLY on the things you can change. The only time you should spend thinking about your past mistakes is when you are reflecting about what you can improve next time. Then – let it go.

don’t be held hostage by things you can do nothing about! move on.org!

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