Each and every day is a chance to practice gliding through life like a simple swan. So when I find myself flapping about like chicken with its head cut off, I picture a swan floating peacefully on a placid lake. Then I think of my acronym for SWAN. These four little words help me quickly adjust my attitude and face the world with a modicum of elegance and grace.
Simple. Wise. Accountable. Nice.
Simple. Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making complicated.” We humans are infamous for making mountains out of molehills. There are few things in life that wouldn’t benefit from a little more simplicity. From our possessions to our thoughts, simplicity is the secret to our serenity and well-being.
Wise. Wisdom means showing good judgment. Some synonyms include being prudent, discerning and insightful. A quick look around may indicate these qualities have fallen out of fashion, making them ever more precious. Rumi said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Accountable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where people accepted responsibility for their own behavior? When we are accountable, we stop being deceitful, blaming and making excuses. Accountability reminds us, despite the behavior of others, we are in control of our own actions and reactions.
Nice. Sometimes it seems people are just too busy to be nice. It only takes a second to smile, hold the door, say thank you, or ask about someone’s day. Our minor irritations are no reason to be biting or unkind. Billionaire Sir John Marks Templeton said, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice.”
Just imagine how our collective well-being would improve if we all paid attention to these four little words. Such an easy way to peacefully glide through life like a simple swan.