I have been reading Stefan Danis‘ articles on Metro once in a while, the Lessons From the Desert. The other day, the article Focus on What You Can Control caught my eyes. I was talking with my buddy the other day about exactly the same topic.
I remember there was one Sunday morning. My kids kept coming to me asking for breakfast, while after a long busy week I was so reluctant to get out of bed. After rounds of coming back and forth, they finally became quiet. Now it was my turn to wonder what was going on. I came down and found out that they were enjoying their breakfast, cereal, bread and milk. Oh, pretty healthy. Good work, kids!
This is a simple example of controlling. Since they couldn’t control my action, they turned around to get things done in their own way.
Think about the situations when we lose control:
Got fired for no reason. We can’t control the employer’s decisions. What can we control? Rather than swear, feel depressed and worried, we’d better come up with a plan to fight or to move on, update our resume and start job search, or maybe take the chance to have a vacation; this might be a little too heartless.
Break up from a relationship. We can’t control the other person’s action, neither can we reverse the situation, but we can control our emotion. We allow ourselves to experience the heartbreak, the sadness, the confusion, the desert and all the complicated feelings. We allow us to recuperate from the hurt and betrayal. However, it can’t be forever. Life goes on and we need to move on. We can control how long we allow ourselves to recuperate.
Not being appreciated. We can’t control other people’s judgment on us, nor can we teach them to appreciate our efforts and contributions, but we can control how to react. Be it to improve ourselves or to walk away from the situation, we will choose the way that works better for ourselves.
Feeling ill. I felt overwhelmed by the tight working schedule when I first started my current job. The stress seemed impact all aspects of my life. I was dizzy, lack of energy and my blood pressure was on the verge. Since I didn’t have the control to stop the work from coming in, I decided to set up my work flow. The earth keeps running without us. I set up the priority, talked to my supervisor about my work flow, took the time to exercise… When I started to take control of what I can control, the other things started to come together.
We can’t control anything, anybody or any situation other than WE. So start from controlling the smaller and simpler things that we can achieve. Always remember to focus on the things that we can control.
When we start to take control of what we can control, the other things start to come together.