Acceptance & Resistance

Yesterday I missed the bus.

Walking out of my building I watched as my ride pulled away across the street.

Actually, the bus I saw leaving was an earlier one running behind. My bus – the one I wanted – showed up in five minutes. In fact, since the first bus was running just ahead of mine it picked up virtually everyone waiting on the route.

Which meant my bus was then a leisurely, uncrowded pleasant ride home.

As they tend to do, things worked out.


Our careers include missed buses too, things disguised as problems that turn out to be beneficial or benign later on. The art of the game is to move from resistance to acceptance and in so doing re channel our energy.

I've wasted a lot of time pushing back against perceived inequities. Of course as an HR pro in the field, half of my role is fighting injustice, ineptitude and inequity. But even crusaders have to know when to lower their lance lest they become as out of place as the man of La Mancha.

Blind resistance, pushing back against policy, management decision, strategy, etc., as a reaction simply becuase we don't understand or agree with same increasingly marginalizes us. Ultimately, much like the boy who cried wolf, our over-reliance on one mode – resistance – removes us from the mainstream of influence as people simply stop listening to us.

We're not involved or consulted when important change occurs and you can't change what you're not part of.


Acceptance and acquiescence are two different things. I didn't get the subtle but significant difference earlier in my career confusing acceptance with giving up the fight.

Looking back now though its clear my mentors and guides were practicing acceptance in order to enable them to drive change.

Acceptance, you see, is simply acknowledging what is. Its not agreement. Neither good or bad, acceptance is recognition of the current reality.

You don't have to like the status quo but you have to know where you are before you can get anywhere else.


Resistance to things that are manifestly wrong is important: it has to be for us to have integrity in our thought and action.

But few things that are wrong are so obvious, odious and overt. Pushing back against matters simply out of habit makes us less effective over time as people learn to discount our input. Resistance has its place in our toolkit but probably shouldn't be the first go-to option.

There's a time to both resist and accept things.

Take a leirsurely ride one day to reflect on this duality and don't worry if you miss the bus.

Things have a way of working out.


4 thoughts on “Acceptance & Resistance

  1. I really, really like this. It has taken me many years to learn the subtle yet obvious differences surrounding acceptance and resistance. You have summed it up so eloquently.

    • I am so pleased you liked it Julie: your opinion always matters to me! Yes, this was a lesson I was incredibly slow to learn, but eventually even I can understand things. Acceptance is not acquiescence…

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